Colorado

Mar 24, 2010 11:53 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Bighorn sheep return to South Platte River Canyon

Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep have returned to the South Platte River Canyon after 50 years of absence.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife says 12 bighorn sheep have been released in the area where the Hayman Fire burned across about 215 square miles eight years ago. Bighorns moved out 50 years ago as vegetation grew dense in the canyon. It pushed them away in search of a more suitable habitat: steep, rocky terrain with little vegetation.

The Hayman fire created a new environment more suitable for the bighorns' lifestyle, with grass and low shrubs. Wildlife officials transplanted the bighorns in January and attached radio collars to monitor them.

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