Plants and Animals

AntelopeVisitors to the Owyhee canyonlands can see a surprising number of plants and animals. The sea of sagebrush that fills the horizon is really a collection of several different varieties of sage. In the higher elevations of the area you can find forests of juniper trees. And each spring wildflowers bloom that are uniquely adapted to this desert habitat.

Helicopter Bighorn surveyBighorn SheepPronghorn antelope, deer, elk, sage grouse, eagles, chukar and many other animals call the canyonlands home. This desert ecosystem is also a critical area for California Bighorn Sheep. Seventy years ago the sheep had nearly disappeared from the area because of disease and over hunting. A transplant program and a lot of effort by the Idaho Dept of Fish and Game and the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep helped reestablish bighorns in the Owyhees. Both organizations now help keep tabs on the herds by doing annual sheep counts either from helicopters or on the ground.