Once the subject of folklore among Native Americans, the Ovis canadensis – or Bighorn sheep – used to flourish in millions throughout America’s Rocky Mountains. But by the early 1900’s, hunting and disease had reduced that number to only a few thousand. Today conservation efforts to bring back the Bighorn are underway, though not without controversy. Many sheep ranchers are understandably concerned that reintroduction efforts will limit feeding grounds for their flocks, while environmentalists insist large buffer zones are needed protect the sheep from potentially disease-carrying domestic sheep. Conservation officials will no doubt have their hands full with these two interests butting heads over Bighorn sheep.

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