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Sheep Count Gets Lost in a Fog

April 25, 1993

Each spring, as the lambing season begins for the Nelson bighorn sheep, the state Department of Fish and Game, with assistance from the U.S. Forest Service and volunteers, counts the sheep for two days in the Angeles National Forest.

But because of fog this year, fish and game officials say they were unable to make an accurate estimate for the first time in two decades. Spotters on the ground and from aircraft, however, saw close to 175 sheep--about one-fourth of the total population estimated to be in the San Gabriel Mountains.

"There were canyons that were fogged in so bad we couldn't fly into them. Ground crews had problems with fog, too," said Chanelle Davis, a

wildlife biologist with the Department of Fish and Game.

Since the 1970s there have been efforts to relocate bighorn sheep from areas where they are flourishing to places where they are no longer prevalent but historically were in abundance. In the past, some sheep have been taken from the San Gabriel Mountains to other locations in the state, such as San Bernardino County.

Because of over-hunting in the San Gabriels in the 19th Century, bighorn sheep hunting has been banned there for 100 years. But hunters say they hope that efforts to restore the herd in the Angeles will result in the ban being lifted soon.

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