Photo by Steve Bakos - A ewe surveying the Cottonwood basin while a marmot looks on.
Photo by Steve Bakos - A ewe and a lamb in the Wooley Back area, where forage is good, but sparse.
The Mount Langley herd was initially reestablished in 1980 with the translocation of 10 Sierra bighorn from the Mt. Baxter herd. The herd was subsequently augmented with an additional 15 animals in the early 1980s. By 2016, Mount Langley was one of the largest and most productive herds in the Sierra, at which time we estimated there were at least 90 Sierra bighorn there. Because of its great success, Mount Langley was used as a source herd for translocations to the Cathedral Range, Mt. Gibbs, Olancha Peak, and Convict Creek in recent years.
In summer, bighorn in this herd are highly visible by hikers summiting Mount Langley and hiking through Cottonwood Lakes Basin, over New Army Pass, and north to Soldier Meadows and the Miter Basin.
After tremendous losses of bighorn in this herd during the winter of 2016-2017 (~29+ animals known to have died in 1 year), the total population decreased dramatically and the herd is no longer being used as a source for translocations. We are now keeping a close eye on mortality rates in the herd. See Predation impedes recovery of Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep (PDF)(opens in new tab) for more information on the recent predation events at Mt. Langley.