Mountain Sheep Habitat Characteristics in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness, Arizona
Journal of Wildlife Management
Mountain sheep (Ovis canadensis mexicana) in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness (PRW), Santa Catalina Mountains, Coronado National Forest, Arizona, have abandoned 206 km2 of historic habitat and now occupy 44 km2. We used univariate analyses to quantify differences of physiographic and vegetation variables between abandoned habitat and habitat currently used by mountain sheep. A discriminant function model characterized differences between the 2 areas. Habitat still used by mountain sheep has less human disturbance, is more open, and has more side oats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula), red brome (Bromus rubens), brittle-bush (Encelia farinosa), and forb cover, but less ground cover, bush muhly (Muhlenbergia porterii), and turpentine bush (Haplopappus laricifolius) than habitat abandoned by mountain sheep. Fire is important for maintaining high habitat visibility. Human disturbances should be minimized in mountain sheep habitat.
ETCHBERGER, R. C., P. R. KRAUSMAN, and R. MAZAIKA. 1989. Mountain sheep habitat characteristics in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness, Arizona. J. Wildl. Manage. 53:902-907.