Rare Bighorn Twin Lambs Seen in Chadron State Park
LINCOLN, Neb. – Visitors to Nebraskas first state park may see another Nebraska first this spring with the birth of twin bighorn sheep lambs in Nebraskas Pine Ridge and their movements within and near Chadron State Park (SP), according to Dave Kinnamon, park superintendent.
“We saw the bighorn sheep ewes and their lambs on the park numerous times in the last two weeks,” Kinnamon said. “Park visitors are stopping by our office regularly to tell us about the exciting wildlife viewing opportunities.”
“Bighorn sheep evolved in the arctic and normally produce only one lamb each year following a short gestation period,” said Todd Nordeen, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commissions district wildlife manager in Alliance. “Research indicates that twin lambs are extremely rare in bighorn sheep.
“Rana Tucker, the wildlife technician tracking the bighorns almost every day observed a pair of lambs moving and nursing one of the radio-collared ewes from the Barrel Butte bighorn herd over the last two weeks and repeated observations have confirmed the first birth of bighorn twins here in Nebraska,” Nordeen said.
According to Kinnamon, the opportunity to view bighorn sheep within the park is exciting but completely random. “Weve seen the sheep using the rocky butte above the group shelter on the park interior road as well as feeding in the open just above the parks trail ride stables. Park visitors have also seen the bighorns occasionally from the Black Hills Overlook road that crosses the U.S. Forest Service pastures bordering the park.”
Wildlife enthusiasts, photographers and observers should avoid approaching or otherwise impacting bighorn sheep, deer and other wildlife. Bighorn ewes with lambs will protect their young if approached too close. Binoculars, spotting scopes and moderate telephoto lenses will be very useful for bighorn observations and photographs. Visitors in vehicles on the park loop road and elsewhere in the region should be careful as they slow or park to observe wildlife.
The bighorns moving on Chadron SP are from the Barrel Butte herd released on the Bighorn Wildlife Management Area (WMA) west of Chadron SP. The herd currently is scattered in the Pine Ridge between the Ponderosa WMA near Crawford and Chadron SP, with some movement of bighorns seen east of U.S. Highway 385.
Bighorn sheep and their lambs can be seen on and near Fort Robinson SP near Crawford, as well.
A valid park entry vehicle permit is required to enter Nebraskas park areas.
For additional information on bighorn sheep in Nebraska, contact the Alliance Commission office at (308) 763-2940 or search the Commission Web site at www.OutdoorNebraska.org.
Chadron SP is celebrating its 87th anniversary on June 21. Scheduled activities include 87-cent lunches, free paddleboat rides, a horseshoe pitching tournament and an archery card shoot.