News Release

Big Bend National Park Implements Temporary Closures to Promote Native Desert Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn sheep
Big Bend is home to a small population of native desert bighorn sheep.

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News Release Date: August 5, 2019

Contact: Tom VandenBerg, 432-477-1107

Contact: Herbert Young, Jr., 432-477-1143

BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK, TX – On August 11, 2019, the National Park Service 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).
 
The Deadhorse Mountains and surrounding areas, including the Dagger Flat Road and Old Ore Road (see map below), will be closed to the public from August 11 – August 17 while the NPS works with Texas Parks and Wildlife to remove the Barbary Sheep using helicopters and staff trained in aerial shooting operations.

The purpose of the closure is to keep visitors safe. All paved roads will remain open. Please see the attached 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 https://www.nps.gov/bibe/getinvolved/planning.htm



Map of temporary closures for Aoudad control
Map indicating closed areas for August 11-17.

Last updated: August 6, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 129
Big Bend National Park, TX 79834-0129

Phone:

(432) 477-2251

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