Charles Post is an ecologist, filmmaker, and photographer, originally from Northern California but now living in Montana. He spends a good chunk of his time traveling through the West, researching and telling stories about wildlife and conservation.
Last year Post went to Texas to spend time around a bighorn sheep relocation project, an effort to establish a population of the majestic animals in West Texas where they once roamed but have been wiped out because of hunting, disease, and habitat destruction. He documented researchers and volunteers who captured the bighorns, examining the animals to be sure they’re healthy enough for transport and collaring them in order to track their movements in their new homes.
His words and photos describing the relocation efforts are below.
All too often we hear about species going extinct. Disappearing forever. But after decades of successful reintroduction efforts, desert bighorns are making a comeback in Texas after nearly vanishing when their populations collapsed from overhunting, habitat loss, and disease from domestic livestock. This past winter, I had the opportunity to team up with Texas Parks and Wildlife, Hells Canyon Helicopters, and filmmakers Ben Masters and Adam Foss to make a film on the bighorn’s incredible rebound and Texas’s single largest desert bighorn sheep roundup and relocation effort.
This marks yet another historic moment when these incredible animals once again roam the wild and remote mountains of West Texas and the Chihuahuan Desert. These desert bighorns represent the start of a new population that will once again call this rugged country home thanks to a groundswell of conservation.
The capture featured in the following photos took place on the Elephant Mountain Wildlife Management Area, which is just outside of Alpine, Texas. Elephant Mountain has become an important source for desert bighorn repopulation efforts because of its healthy and growing population, a rarity across must of the American Southwest and especially Texas.
After a health examination and being collared to track migration, the bighorn were released in the Black Gap Wildlife Management Area. This is a beautiful piece of public land in West Texas where desert bighorn once thrived, and, thanks to efforts like these, will again in the future.