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A small herd of Bighorn Mountain Sheep Ewes and their young make their way up the steep rock cliffs where they are safe from most predators.
Bighorn sheep typically inhabit alpine meadows, grassy mountain slopes and foothills near rugged, rocky cliffs and bluffs. Bighorn sheep cannot move though deep snow, so they prefer drier slopes where the annual snowfall is less than about sixty inches a year. A bighorn’s winter range usually lies 2,500-5,000 feet in elevation, while its summer range is tends to be 6,000-8,500 feet. Besides being highly susceptible to to certain diseases carried by domestic sheep such as scabies and pneumonia; additional mortality occurs as a result of accidents involving rocks falling and or falling off cliffs (a hazard of living in steep, rugged terrain). Bighorns are well adapted to climbing steep terrain where they seek cover from predators. Predation primarily occurs with lambs which are hunted by coyotes, bobcats, lynxes and golden eagles. Bighorn sheep of all ages are threatened by wolves, bears and especially cougars, which are perhaps best equipped with the agility to predate in uneven, rocky habitats.They are considered good indicators of land health because the species is sensitive to many human-induced environmental problems. In addition to their aesthetic value, bighorn sheep are considered desirable game animals by hunters.
Taken on Sept 13/12 at 6:14pm between Cranbrook B.C. and Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada.
Camera, Canon 7D
Lens, Canon EF 100-400mm L IS USM lens.
Taken at 1/2000’s at f/10, 170 mm, iso 800, man white bal.
No cropping, edited in Lightroom 4.2