While the camel is well recognized for its desert adaptability, the desert bighorn sheep can lose a higher percentage of body weight in water than a camel … and survive.
That information is just a bit of what the public stands to learn at the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Region 3 Desert Bighorn Sheep Workshops.
The region will host two separate, two-day workshops from July 26-27 and Aug. 2-3. The first night of the workshop is mandatory classroom education from 6-8 p.m. at the Game and Fish Kingman office. The second day provides the opportunity to view the majestic bighorns in their native environment during a four-hour boat ride beginning at 10:30 a.m. on the Colorado River between Willow Beach and the Hoover Dam.
“During the heat of summer these animals need to visit the water about every other day,” said Zen Mocarski, public information officer with the Kingman office. “In terms of viewing desert bighorn sheep, the hotter it is the better.”
The workshops are open to any member of the public 14-years-old and up. Nobody under 14 will be registered. Space, however, is limited to 49 people per session. Preference will be given to those who have not previously attended the workshop.
Participants will be selected through a random draw process, which takes place immediately following the noon, June 14 application deadline. All applicants are contacted by mail, or e-mail. Applications received after the deadline, and individuals not drawn, are placed on the reserve list.
“This is an opportunity to get connected with nature,” Mocarski said. “It’s a great way for people to learn about bighorn sheep, the department, and the conservation efforts of many different agencies in regards to bighorn sheep.”
Mocarski said these workshops are available because of the Heritage Fund, a voter-passed initiative which provides money to the department through Arizona Lottery dollars for wildlife conservation and education.
The workshops include an optional tour of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery prior to the Colorado River field trip. The 45-minute tour will begin at 9 a.m. and will feature both sport fish and endangered native fish.
While the trips are free, there is a $20 per person refundable deposit to help reduce the problem of no-shows. The money is refunded when a person either attends the workshop or calls to cancel at least 48 hours in advance.
Registration is by mail or in-person drop-off at the Kingman office only.
Donations, which are not mandatory to participate, will be accepted at the workshop to help offset increasing costs for boat rentals and fuel. Please do not send cash donations prior to the event.
Participants are encouraged to bring a camera, water, snacks, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. No tripods will be allowed on the boats, but small coolers are OK.
“Getting out and seeing the environment in which these animals live will provide an education in itself,” Mocarski said. “I only wish we had the room to take more people each year, but we are limited by available space on the boats.”
Anyone interested in applying is encouraged to do so by downloading an application form at www.azgfd.gov/bighornworkshop. Print the form and follow the instructions. For those without internet, or needing additional information, contact Zen Mocarski at (928) 692-7700, ext. 2301 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image courtesy Arizona Game and Fish Department