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FY 2022-23 Grant-in-Aid Update Trap, Test, & Transplant; Water Distribution & Delivery System (GIAs 2223-52 and 2223-53) Sonora, MX


May 2, 2023

Between March 2017 and end of calendar year 2022, the Artee Family of Sonora, Mexico have embarked on an ambitious effort to return desert bighorn sheep to free-range status in the mountains of northern Sonora. A total of 206 desert bighorns have been released into the wild at Sierra El Alamo, approximately 20 miles west of Caborca, Sonora, Mexico. To assure the health and disease status of each animal, blood samples were drawn from desert bighorns, with analysis being completed in laboratories certified by SEMARNAT and SAGARPHA, two agencies of the Mexican government. While awaiting results, captured desert bighorns were quarantined until laboratory results were available. Then, desert bighorns were loaded into trailers for transport (~10 hours), then moved into soft-release pens prior to opening gates and releasing these desert bighorn sheep to free-range status.

Another element of the Sierra El Alamo desert bighorn restoration program has been the development and distribution of water for the benefit of desert bighorn sheep and other desert-dwelling wildlife. In 2021, a water well was drilled at a key elevation/location in the mountains of Sierra El Alamo; using solar-powered pumps, this well supplies an 80,000-liter (21,000-gallon) tank, which then gravity feeds water to a network of drinkers strategically placed throughout the more than 80,000-acre Sierra El Alamo project site. To expand the water delivery system, during winter 2022-2023, another 10,000-liter (2,700 gallon) tank was sited, with more than 8,000 meters of 1-1/4” and ¾” PVC pipe being buried to assist in spreading water sources throughout the project area.

Current FY 2022-2023 funding from the Wild Sheep Foundation was $60,000 toward these paired projects, with our long-time conservation partner Dallas Safari Club Foundation, contributing $10,000. Over the past 6 years, total WSF funding toward this desert bighorn sheep restoration totaled $247,500, in addition to a total of $22,500 from the Dallas Safari Club Foundation and the WSF Midwest Chapter $15,000 in project support.

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