In the 1800s, the Texas Bighorn sheep numbered about 1,500 in the remote, craggy Texas wilderness. But by the 1940s, their numbers had dwindled to around 35 and they were looking to join the ranks of the dodo bird. However, conservation efforts and personal motivation tapes pushed the Bighorn sheep to clamber and hoof their way gradually back up the rocky, precarious cliff to population rebound, and at the windswept peak the Texas Bighorn found the ultimate reward:

Their growing numbers are reflected by the 12 hunting permits for bighorns issued statewide this year, the most since efforts to rebuild the population began in 1954.

Woo-hoo! We’re expendable again! Actually, it’s those hunting permits, sold at a premium, that have funded the successful return of the Bighorn. Turns out the hunters are the most concerned with preserving the species. Ah, that good ol’ Texas tough love.

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