SEELEY — Imperial native, Jarrad Reeves, was working while driving alongside a ditch-bank approximately seven miles outside of Seeley when he spotted what he, initially, though was a deer but ended up being documented as a big horn sheep Wednesday, August 19, marking the first time a big horn sheep had ever been spotted at such a low elevation in Imperial County.
Reeves recorded footage of the sighting and sent the video to a friend.
“Once I shot the video, I sent it to a friend of mine who sent it to a biologist — who in turn sent it to Sacramento where I was put in contact with Environmental Scientist for California Fish and Wildlife, Dreanna Dimartino,” said Reeves.
After, Dimartino received location formalities from Reeves, they met up at 1 p.m. on that day, along with Sony Bono Wildlife Association Biologist Janene Kolby.
“Together, we went back to the spot where I located the big horn and recorded the prints,” said Reeves. “From there, we tracked it into the desert.”
According to Reeves, the biologist continued to track the big horn until about 8:30 p.m. that night where it was said to be tracked all the way to the solar panels by Superstition Mountain.
Another set of tracks was also discovered.
As per biologists, the big horn sheep in the video was believed to be a 7- to ten-month male while the second set of tracks was possibly a smaller one.
There are approximately 800 to 1,000 of that specific big horn sheep species in all of California, according to CDFW.
“For it to be seen at this low of an elevation has never been documented before,” said Reeves. “The biologist said they had no idea why it wandered down this low.”
As per Dimartino, it is believed this particular big horn sheep is from the Fish Mountain herd, which is located due north of the Superstition Mountains.
“There is another herd called the Desert Tower herd that is located near the Desert Tower and are heading out toward San Diego,” said Reeves.
It is believed this big horn is from the Fish Mountain herd because of the coloration.
“You never really know what’s out there until you spend some time in the outdoors,” said Reeves. “There could be all kinds of animals that are out here, and we have no idea of because we stay here in the concrete jungle. When you get out in the wilderness you see things you’re not going to see in the city and maybe have the chance of a lifetime to see something never before seen.”