Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are working to capture a portion of a herd of bighorn sheep in Colorado Springs and relocate them to Teller County.
This herd, called the Rampart herd, originated from Tarryall Reservoir in South Park. The herd has been part of reestablishing Colorado's sheep population since the agency's management project began in 1944.
Now in 2021, Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff and volunteers are working to move 20 bighorn sheep to continue the management project.
Friday @COParksWildlife biologist April Estep counted 114 bighorn sheep as she & volunteers set out apple pulp and hay. The Rampart herd was created by accident in 1946 when a truck carrying sheep to Pikes Peak broke down & they escaped to foothills near Garden of the Gods. (5/6) pic.twitter.com/QJ5RT12wOS— CPW SE Region (@CPW_SE) January 18, 2021
Since January 15, the agency has spread apple mush and hay every day in areas of Garden of the Gods to lure the sheep in. On January 18, a biologist with the agency counted 114 sheep in the park.
Here's a video by Colorado Parks and Wildlife of staff laying apple mush and hay in the fields for the sheep in January:
In this time-lapse video by biologist April Estep, watch the bait site dance between bighorn sheep and @COParksWildlife staff. Sheep move in waves as staff move in and out with shovels of apple pulp and hay. CPW estimates 7,000 bighorn live in CO after nearly disappearing. (6/6) pic.twitter.com/Fqv2Tr5xpU— CPW SE Region (@CPW_SE) January 19, 2021
The sheep will "soon" be captured by an overhead net, loaded into a transport vehicle, and relocated in an area south of Victor called Beaver Creek canyon.
Quiet day at the bighorn bait site in #ColoradoSprings where @COParksWildlife soon will capture about 20 sheep and move them to Beaver Creek canyon south of Victor to rebuild a herd that collapsed due to disease. The herd was scattered on the hillsides of an old quarry. (1 of 4) pic.twitter.com/vKigBGevKU— CPW SE Region (@CPW_SE) February 21, 2021
The Rampart herd was "accidentally" brought to the Pikes Peak Region in 1946 when a truck that was transporting them broke down near Garden of the Gods. The sheep escaped into the park and have thrived there since. This herd was originally being transported to Pikes Peak as a conservation effort following unregulated hunting and widespread disease that nearly wiped out Colorado's population of the sheep, the wildlife agency said.
By 1885, Colorado Parks and Wildlife estimate the state's population of sheep was just a few hundred. The agency currently estimates the bighorn sheep population in Colorado is about 7,000.