LA QUINTA ( — An endangered bighorn sheep had to be rescued after getting stuck in a canal at the PGA West Country Club in La Quinta.

Peninsula bighorn sheep, which is classified as an endangered species, often wander onto the golf courses in the PGA West complex to get access to the soft grass, according to Riverside County Department of Animal Services.

The sheep that got stuck about 6 p.m. Sunday appeared to be lethargic, Riverside County Officer Kyle Stephens said. Stephens said he also could see hoof marks where the sheep had tried to pull himself out of the water, but there was too much algae or moss for the animal to get a foothold.

Stephens said he used his control stick to loop into one of the sheep’s horns to pull him out.

“I was worried about whether he might pull back and force me in,” Stephens said in a statement. “When I boosted him out, I could tell he was helping me as best he could. It would have been much tougher going without his help. He was definitely helping me as I helped him.”

The officer said he was not sure if the sheep was male or female, but presumed the animal was male because of its larger horns and the horns’ defined curvature.

When the sheep was finally freed, it lingered as if to say thanks, then took off into the bushes and back into the nearby hills, Stephens said.


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