Estimated 2,500 come to annual Bighorn Sheep Day

       About 2,500 people took advantage of their annual chance to see and learn about bighorns Feb. 12 at the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center.

Bruce McCann (far right) and his 2-year-old grandson Riley check out the animal pelts on display inside the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center Feb. 12 as part of the annual Bighorn Sheep Day activities. An Oregon resident, McCann was visiting his family in Englewood. Volunteers behind the table are Jann Nance (far left) and Carol Blythe.
Westside Pioneer photo

       The sixth annual Bighorn Sheep Day included outdoor viewing stations with telescopes and binoculars, educational presentations, guided walks, information tables and - for the first time - live animals from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
       “We had a lot of positive feedback,” said Garden interpreter Bret Tennis. “The zoo animals were a hit.”
       Part of the zoo display was at an information table. A presentation in the center's theater by zoo staffers Haley Smith and Kellie McGregor showcased and talked about the characteristics of the animals they brought - a red-footed tortoise, a boreal toad, a tiger salamander, a red-tailed boa, a corn snake, a vinegaroon (a type of arachnid) and a skunk.
       Every year since the event started, people have been able to see some of the local herd of 75 or so bighorns grazing on the slopes above Glen Eyrie. This is not just luck, Tennis pointed out. “They spend a lot of time in this area,” he said. “They'll hang out all around that ridge, and on Glen Eyrie's grounds and then come down into the park.”
       He said the event reflected the combined efforts of nine entities: the Visitor & Nature Center, the Division of Wildlife (DOW), the city, the Bighorn Sheep Society, the National Forest Service, El Paso County, the Friends of Garden of the Gods (FOGG), the zoo and Experience Colorado Springs at Pikes Peak.

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