BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK, TX – On August 5, 2020, the National Park Service (NPS) will continue with measures to protect desert bighorn sheep at Big Bend National Park, which include reducing its population of non-native aoudads (Barbary sheep).

Big Bend National Park is still closed as of this writing. If the park has reopened or partially reopened at the time of this project, the staff reminds visitors to observe all posted closures for their own safety.

The Deadhorse Mountains and surrounding areas, including the Dagger Flat Road and Old Ore Road (see map available on request), will be closed from August 5 through August 7 while the NPS works with Texas Parks and Wildlife to remove the Barbary sheep using helicopters and staff trained in aerial shooting operations. Please see the map for detailed closures and access information

Barbary sheep have been in the park for the past three decades and have increased significantly in recent years. Hundreds of Barbary sheep inhabit the park, but the park has only one very small known population of native desert bighorn sheep. Barbary sheep control is necessary as they compete with native species including preventing desert bighorn from accessing water, threaten biodiversity, and impair park visitor’s ability to experience natural conditions and scenery.

This effort is part of Big Bend’s long-term, integrated approach to control exotic animals and protect park resources. Management of aoudad is in keeping with the Big Bend Exotic Animal Management Plan and Environmental Assessment, finalized in June, 2018. To see this plan, visit www.parkplanning.nps.gov/bibe.

Read more about bighorn sheep.

Source: NPS