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1 January 2018 Population Dynamics of a Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis) Herd in the Southern Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming
Brynn L. Parr, Joshua B. Smith, Jonathan A. Jenks
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Abstract

Bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) were re- introduced to the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming beginning in 1965. Various pneumonia outbreaks caused populations to decline periodically, resulting in little to no lamb recruitment. An isolated population of bighorn sheep resides on Elk Mountain along the South Dakota-Wyoming border in the southern Black Hills. We estimated population size, survival, and recruitment rates of bighorn sheep on Elk Mountain by radio-collaring adult and neonatal sheep from 2012 to 2014. Overall annual ewe survival was 88.1% (se = 0.05), ram survival was 85.1% (se = 0.10), and 26 wk lamb survival was 44.7% (se = 0.09). Recruitment through 26 wk averaged 35% (SD = 0.02) across years. Population estimates for the 3 y were 80 (se = 0.58), 100 (se = 2.42), and 115 (se = 6.89) individuals, respectively. The Elk Mountain bighorn sheep herd experienced lamb survival and recruitment during 2012-2014; coupled with minor predation losses and a lack of deadly pneumonia, this herd is expected to continue to grow in size.

Brynn L. Parr, Joshua B. Smith, and Jonathan A. Jenks "Population Dynamics of a Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis) Herd in the Southern Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming," The American Midland Naturalist 179(1), 1-14, (1 January 2018). https://doi.org/10.1674/0003-0031-179.1.1
Received: 21 April 2017; Accepted: 1 September 2017; Published: 1 January 2018
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