Great Basin Naturalist


Several habitat evaluation procedures have been developed for bighorn sheep. However, none of these procedures specifically addresses the Rocky Mountain subspecies nor analyzes both the quantity and quality of potential bighorn habitat with regard to minimum viable population (MVP) criteria. This bighorn habitat evaluation procedure combines (1) a quantitative assessment of bighorn range to determine if there are adequate quantities of resources to support an MVP of bighorn sheep, and (2) a qualitative assessment of a range to predict the probable density of bighorns the range can support. Extensive literature review, intensive bighorn research, and a modeling tool, pattern recognition (PATREC), facilitate critical analysis of proposed bighorn reintroduction sites. The resultant stepwise approach to bighorn habitat evaluation enhances the ability of wildlife biologists to make timely and accurate bighorn habitat assessments.