Abstract: Mountain sheep (Ovis canadensis) are closely associated with steep, mountainous, open terrain. Their habitat consequently occurs in a naturally fragmented pattern, often with substantial expanses of unsuitable habitat between suitable patches; the sheep have been noted to be slow colonizers of vacant suitable habitat. As a result, resource managers have focused on (1) conserving “traditional” mountainous habitats, and (2) forced colonization through reintroduction. Telemetry studies in desert habitats have recorded more intermountain movement by desert sheep than was previously thought to OCCUT. Given the heretofore unrecognized vagility of mountain sheep, we argue that existing corridors of “nontraditional” habitat connecting mountain ranges be given adequate conservation consideration. Additionally, small areas of mountainous habitat that an? not permanently occupied but that may serve as “stepping stones” within such corridors must be recognized for their potential importance to relatively isolated populations of mountain sheep. We discuss the potential importance of such corridors to other large, vagile species.
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 1990
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