Today the US federal government has designated over 625 square miles of mountain range as a protected habitat for the endangered Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep. Conservationists had to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2005 in order to have this land protected. The lawsuit stated that the Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep was threatened with extinction because this habitat wasn't protected under the Endangered Species Act as it should be.
This new habitat is located in the eastern Sierra Nevada is home to this unique subspecies of furry bighorn mountain sheep. The Fish and Wildlife Service will now have to determine whether domestic sheep and off-roading could possibly jeopardize the bighorns' future recovery.
In the early 1800's Bighorn Sheep were common and widespread throughout the western US. Their numbers were estimated at as many as at least 2 million. Due to over-hunting, domestic sheep herds eating their food, mountain lions, logging and diseases these numbers were cut down to a few thousand.
Thanks to a statewide campaign in AZ by the Boy Scouts, hard work from conservationists, the designation of National Wildlife Refuges and their endangered classification bighorn sheep stand a chance of escaping extinction.
Although the 625 square miles of mountain range is not a vast space of land, it is a start and will hopefully help these animals in the future.