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If you’re around Las Vegas and you’re going to Lake Mead or the Hoover Dam, a place you can commonly see Bighorn sheep is at Hemenway Park! It’s a small park, with a big green lawn of grass-pretty uncommon around here and a welcome site in the driest state in the US. There are a few shade trees, a small pavilion, and even a play area for the kids. It’s a good spot to stop for lunch if you’re on your way to the Hoover Dam, and you might see some bighorn sheep while there!
Where is Hemenway Park?
It’s located right in the residential area of Boulder City, Nevada, just off highway 93 to your left as you’re heading towards the Hoover Dam or Lake Mead. It’s only a 10 minute drive from the dam, or 30mins from downtown Las Vegas. The park hours are 6am-10pm.
Spotting Bighorn Sheep in the Park
Our super friendly Airbnb hosts gave us a tip to look for the Desert Bighorn Sheep that come down from the mountains in the area, and often times are found in people’s yards or the local park. We were watching out for them in the morning but didn’t see anything, till we were on our way out and passed by a park, and luckily caught site of one them!
They love munching on the grass in the park. Sometimes entire herds of them will come. They don’t seem to mind people, and haven’t ever harmed anybody. You can actually get pretty close to them, although I wouldn’t advise getting too close. I mean, look at those big horns! Just be safe because you never know….
Interesting Fact: The males are called rams, and females are ewes. The male’s horns are larger, curl around more, and can weigh up to 30lbs / 14kg! The Bighorn sheep themselves weigh up to 300lbs or 140kg. They range across the western portion of North America.
The River Mountains Herd
The bighorn sheep in this area are called the River Mountains Herd. Bighorn used to be plentiful in Nevada, but their numbers dwindled due to hunting, illness from domestic animals and habitat loss. In the 1960’s wildlife conservationists worked to restore the herds to larger amounts, and were becoming quite successful. In the recent years however, a deadly bacteria pneumonia has been taking over, and killing off the herds.
The bighorns can’t fight against it, and either die or live to spread it to more of their kind. Currently all biologists can do is wait and see. More information on the illness can be found here.
Hopefully these beautiful animals will make a comeback one day!
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