Both the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park have a variety of goat and sheep species. Guests to the Zoo can meet domesticated goats and sheep in the Petting Paddock of the Children’s Zoo, or admire the Sichuan takin herd cavorting along the hillside in the Zoo’s Panda Trek.
Visitors to the Safari Park can mingle with domestic goats in the Petting Kraal at Nairobi Village and view groups of Sudan Barbary sheep, Turkomen markhor, Nubian ibex, Armenian mouflon, Transcaspian urials, and Chinese bharals in our expansive field exhibits. A small group of desert bighorn sheep lives in the Park’s Condor Ridge.
Unfortunately, some goats, including the endangered markhor Capra falconeri, and some of the wild sheep, are still highly prized as trophy animals. Hunters often pay thousands of dollars to pursue and kill them for their horns. Many wild goat and sheep species are hunted for their hide and meat, causing their numbers to drop, with some populations disappearing completely.
Help for bighorn sheep in San Diego County
There are just over 950 Peninsular bighorn sheep Ovis canadensis nelsoni left in the US. Their current range is from the San Jacinto Mountains in Southern California to Baja California, Mexico. Bighorn sheep rams are wide ranging, moving between ewe groups and linking the subpopulations together. Human disturbances, development, several major highways, and the recently built fence along the US-Mexico border have compromised the ability for small subpopulations to connect for breeding.
After Peninsular bighorn sheep were listed as endangered, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service put together a team of bighorn sheep experts and asked them to create a plan for the sheep's recovery. The plan calls for a number of actions, including increased habitat protection and restoration, reduction of human impact, and development of public education programs. Researchers from San Diego Zoo Global are working with collaborators in Mexico collecting data, using camera traps, tracking bighorn sheep signs, and collecting fecal samples for genetic analysis.
You can help us bring bighorn sheep and other sheep and goat species back from the brink by supporting the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy. Together we can save and protect wildlife around the globe.