Endangered Species

Endangered bighorn sheep share a controversial lush life on the greens at La Quinta's desert golf courses

Endangered bighorn sheep share a controversial lush life on the greens at La Quinta's desert golf courses

This is a sunbaked oasis of walled and gated neighborhoods, chic boutique hotels and verdant golf courses at the base of the rugged Santa Rosa Mountains.

So officials were caught off guard by a divisive controversy that erupted in 2012 after large numbers of federally endangered Peninsular bighorn rams, ewes and lambs started venturing down the mountains to drink from water hazards and browse on the lush greens of golf courses.

Among them is the SilverRock Resort, which is city-owned and the site of a proposed $420-million development project designed to rev up the local economy in this Riverside County community.

No one blames the bighorns for being attracted to...

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