An endangered bighorn sheep that fell into a La Quinta canal while trying to reach golf course grass was rescued by an animal control officer, officials said Monday.
The endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep looked fatigued and was having trouble keeping its head above the water.
"I was worried about whether he might pull back and force me in," Riverside County Animal Control Officer Kyle Stephens said in a statement. "When I boosted him out, I could tell he was helping me out as best he could."
Though the bigborn is able to scale steep rocky slopes, this one wasn't able to climb the slick walls of the canal.
After the animal control officer rescued the bighorn, the animal seemed to pause before disappearing into the hills, Stephens said.
"It was if he wanted to stick around just for a moment to say, 'Thanks,'" Stephens said.
Golfers took a break from playing to watch the officer save the animal's life, officials said.
"Everyone was smiling after the sheep was out and back into nature," Stephens said.