More fencing possible in La Quinta to protect bighorn sheep

Bighorn sheep listed federally as endangered

More fencing possible in La Quinta to pr

LA QUINTA, Calif. - Endangered peninsular desert bighorn sheep are known to migrate down from the mountains, many times seen in neighborhoods and on golf courses around the city of La Quinta.

In an effort to keep the species safe and in the appropriate habitat, fencing along SilverRock Resort was installed two years ago, but sheep can still find themselves on the wrong side by entering at opposite ends of the fence. 

An environmental impact report by the Coachella Valley Conservation Commission (CVCC) was certified last April, approving the route for an additional nine miles of fencing, partly along the perimeters of PGA West and Tradition Golf Club. 

La Quinta city manager, Jon McMillen, said since the fence was put up at SilverRock, there have been few sightings of bighorn sheep. 

"I think the reason behind needing those extra sections is just simply the fact that by putting in one section doesn't stop the sheep from coming through because they just go around the edges," said McMillen.

The timeline for those barrier projects is dependent on securing access from private property owners, and project funding is apparently available through CVCC. All in an effort to keep bighorn sheep safe from getting trapped or sick from eating or drinking from artificial sources in urban areas. 

"People should remember that bighorn sheep are wild animals. They should give them a wide birth. Don't approach those bighorn sheep. If they've come through an opening in the fence, we know that they are capable of finding a way back to those openings."

If you ever see a bighorn sheep that appears ill or in distress, you should contact the California Department of Fish and Wildlife by calling Russel Black at (951) 852-6386. 

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