“The Art of Conservation” helps Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep

Oct. 3, 2012

Media Contacts:

Alexandra Few, Sierra Nevada Bighorn Recovery Program, (760) 872-3159

Tom Stephenson, Sierra Nevada Bighorn Recovery Program, (760) 873-4305

Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is joining artist and science illustrator Jane Kim to raise public awareness of Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep. This endangered species is one of the rarest large mammals in North America. Kim’s show, “The Art of Conservation,” launches the Migrating Mural to benefit the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Foundation.

The Migrating Mural is a collection of murals to be painted along migration corridors of endangered species. Through the murals, the transient life of these animals can be seen and appreciated from highways. The first series of four migrating wildlife murals will feature Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep and be visible from U.S. Highway 395 in the eastern Sierra Nevada, between Tioga Pass and Cartago, which is south of Lone Pine.

Fund-raising for the Migrating Mural will begin with the “Art of Conservation” show at “The Bone Room Presents,” a gallery at 1573 Solano Ave., Berkeley, on Thursday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. Kim, DFG Wildlife Biologist Alexandra Few, and John Wehausen of the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Foundation will be there to answer conservation-related questions. Proceeds will help pay for the murals.

After the bighorn sheep series is completed, Kim plans to paint additional series of murals featuring imperiled migratory species near their migration routes, and visible to the public.

The Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep is listed as endangered on both state and federal endangered species lists. The foundation supports some of DFG’s recovery work. In the past, they have purchased VHF and GPS collars that make it possible for DFG to track the sheep herds’ movement, and paid for laboratory analyses that allow DFG to monitor the animals’ health.

Historically, bighorn sheep were distributed along the crest of the Sierra Nevada from Sonora Pass in the north to Olancha Peak in the south. The population of more than 1,000 bighorn was decimated during the 19th and 20th centuries. By 1995 only about 100 bighorn sheep remained in the Sierra Nevada.