Great Canadian Parks / British Columbia

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The Parks / British Columbia / Churn Creek Provincial Park



 





Churn Creek’s rolling grasslands, steep ravines and river canyons provide excellent habitat for California Bighorn sheep and mule deer. The spotted bat and long-billed curlews, also protected by the park, are among the provinces 55 endangered, threatened or vulnerable species. The Bighorn’s general range is western North America from southeastern B.C. down into lower California, feeding primarily on wheatgrass, bluegrass and junegrass and hunted by wolves, cougar, wolverines and coyotes. They represent a species that entered the New World from Asia no earlier than the Pleistocene era, having no known ancestors prior to the Tertiary Period. Ewes and their offspring travel in large herds entirely separate from the smaller herds of mature rams, meeting only for the short mating season that begins in September. The greyish-brown newborn lambs, usually twins, are born in the spring and, before winter, weigh about 40 kilograms. Their most distinctive feature, the massive curling horns of the mature male, spirals backward from the top of the head, then tapers sharply toward the tip. Made up of a hollow horny sheath growing over a bony core, they can weigh up to 10 kilograms and, sadly, are still considered a trophy by some hunters. A stocky, muscular animal, weighing as much as 160 kilograms, the male is widely known for its brutal jousting matches during the mating season. The head-on collisions in these butting contests are conducted at speeds clocked at 80 to 100 kilometres /hour. The force of the impact has been estimated at over 1000 kilograms and can be heard over 2 kilometres away.

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