A century ago, bighorn sheep, which once flourished on Nebraska’s high plains, had been wiped out there by overhunting, human encroachment, and disease.
Yet over the last 40 years, scientists have reintroduced the sheep to western Nebraska’s Wildcat Hills and Pine Ridge region, an effort that has led to a population of 320 bighorn in the state today.
Using stunning footage, including from camera traps and drones, filmmaker Mariah Lundgren takes viewers inside the effort to ensure that the state’s bighorn sheep population continues to thrive among the buttes and rugged hills.
She follows scientists as they place radio collars on the sheep, monitor newborn lambs, sample the animals for disease — pneumonia is the biggest killer — and observe their behavior with camera traps that capture striking images of these extraordinary animals.
“In Nebraska, wildlife biologists in charge of these native species that they’re trying to reintroduce into the wild are really amazing people,” says photographer Michael Forsberg, who has followed the reintroduction efforts. “Their connections with these animals run really, really deep … And that’s what conservation takes out here in the Plains today.”
This article was first published by E360.Yale.edu on 2 August 2022.
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