Disease Jumps From Domestic to Wild Sheep

More reporting about the bighorn/domestic sheep disease study

Other than the study itself, this is the first time that I’ve heard Dr. Srikmaran talk about last year’s study which confirms that domestic sheep diseases kill bighorn sheep.

“I am not that happy about this finding. Some people’s livelihood depends on domestic sheep,” [But the] “organisms did not exist anywhere else. They could only come from one place, the domestic sheep.” – Dr. Subramaniam Srikmaran

Some people who support the sheep industry have made misrepresentations of what the study actually says. They say that “these data show that even extended fence line contact of 2 months didn’t lead to disease and death. Disease required co-mingling for a minimum of 48 hours and this was after transmission had already occurred in three of the bighorn sheep.”

I’ve had the chance to read the study and, in fact, it does not say that it took two days of commingling to produce disease. It says that one of the sheep died within two days of the beginning of commingling portion of the experiment. All four of the bighorn sheep, even the one which did not contract M. haemolytica during the fenceline portion of the study died within 9 days of the beginning of the commingling portion of the study. There is no evidence to support the claim that “disease required co-mingling for a minimum of 48 hours”.

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US Court of Appeals: US wrongly put water tanks in Kofa National Wildlife Refuge

Water tanks illegally constructed in Wilderness-

Back to the issue of construction of wildlife facilities in designated Wilderness areas, although there are many more issues here than the one before the court.  One must not lose sight of that.

US Court of Appeals: US wrongly put water tanks in Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. Tony Davis. Arizona Daily Star.

Western Washington’s bighorns slammed by disease

Another 2010-was-a-deadly-year-for-bighorn story-

The culprit is almost entirely pneumonia, and almost all of it, maybe all of it, comes from domestic sheep and goats.  The Western Watersheds Project, and closely related groups like Advocates for the West, are  just about the only organizations that are willing to step forward, tell the truth, and go after the offending herds of livestock.  I hope folks will consider and give WWP and Advocates a donation if the appalling death tool of bighorn sheep in the West bothers you. Ralph Maughan

Western Washington’s bighorns slammed by disease. Outdoors Blog. The Spokesman Review.

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Related Dec. 31. Bighorn sheep killed on Montana highway one. AP (in Great Falls Tribune).  I remember posting an almost identical story for the same place a couple years ago.  Some money needs to be spent at this location.    “a state wildlife biologist says between four to 15 of the animals are killed every year [at this location]*

Bighorns transplanted to WY Seminoe Mountains doing well

. . . and another transplant to this obscure mountain range planned-

We’ve been following this for about a year now, and it’s good to hear good news on bighorn sheep because so much has been bad.

Article on the transplants. By Jeff Gearino. Casper Star-Tribune in the Billings Gazette.

Seminoe Mountains BLM photo

Posted in Bighorn sheep, mountain ranges, Uncategorized, Wyoming. Tags: . Comments Off on Bighorns transplanted to WY Seminoe Mountains doing well

Idaho Gov. Candidate Allred: “On public lands, to me, wildlife populations have to take priority”

Public land ranchers concerned about candidate’s position that public lands ought be managed to preserve Idaho’s wildlife heritage

Idaho’s Gubernatorial candidate Keith Allred, challenger to “Butch” Otter, recently drew a distinction between wildlife management on public versus private land, standing behind Idaho sportsmen on the bighorn sheep issue :

Candidate’s Comments Cause for Concern – Frank Priestley, Idaho Farm Bureau President

During the October 9th discussion between Allred and members of the Idaho Sportsmen’s Caucus Advisory Council, the subject of bighorn sheep management came up. Following are Allred’s comments verbatim:

“My family a hundred years ago was driving sheep and cattle up to the Sawtooth Valley and running sheep. So I’d like to see a viable sheep industry. But we also have a long enough family history that we remember when there (were) much more substantial bighorn sheep populations in Idaho than there are now. So how do you manage those competing perspectives? Here’s one kind of distinction I would draw: On public lands, to me, wildlife populations have to take priority over individual private interests, really economic interests, and grazing. On private lands then private property owners need to take priority.”

(Emphasis added)

This recognition that wildlife management on public lands ought reflect all Idahoans’ interest, and ought preserve Idaho’s wildlife heritage is threatening to some.

To most, it’s just plain common sense.

UPDATE:  Allred Licks the Boot 10/29/10 : Statement on Bighorn and Domestic Sheep – Keith Allred, Ag Weekly

From Keith Allred – I’m sorry to have inappropriately applied the distinction between public and private land to bighorn and domestic sheep questions in recent comments I made to the Sportsman’s Caucus. I’d like to clarify my points and suggest a solution.

[More…]


DNA Tests Indicate Yellowstone National Park Elk, Not Bison, Most Likely To Spread Brucellosis

Don’t worry about the man behind the curtain.

In so many ways the issue of brucellosis in bison and elk is similar to the issue of domestic sheep diseases and bighorn except the rationalization for killing wildlife is just the opposite.

We now know that domestic sheep are responsible for disease issues in bighorn sheep and those who support the livestock industry want to simply deny it and continue to allow domestic sheep to use areas where there is an obvious conflict and to kill bighorn sheep if the “invade” the sacred domestic sheep allotments.

With bison the same argument is turned on its head so that bison are routinely hazed and slaughtered for being on the sacred landscape of the holy cow. Forget that there is absolutely no evidence to support the claim that bison are a truly a risk to cattle that are not even on the landscape when bison are capable of transmitting brucellosis. The bison must be tortured and killed so that the sacred cow can eat the grass that those pesky beasts are eating.

Well, now comes evidence to show that bison another species, elk, have been the culprit in spreading brucellosis to the sacred cow. Are we now going to see a new war waged against them? Forget that brucellosis came from domestic livestock in the first place. Something must be done to protect the kings and queens of the West and the taxpayer must fork over millions upon millions of dollars for a pointless and impossible eradication exercise so that the livestock industry won’t ever have to face any adversity.

Think it won’t happen? Well, it has already begun and the livestock industry will use this new study to rationalize it and to rationalize continuation of their bison policies as well.

DNA Tests Indicate Yellowstone National Park Elk, Not Bison, Most Likely To Spread Brucellosis.
Kurt Repanshek – National Parks Traveler

Sheep link to bighorn illness adds to grazing controversy

BLM reviewing sheep allotments within 30 miles of bighorn populations.

Bighorn Sheep © Ken Cole

This is another exposé about the fallout of the Payette bighorn viability decision and the latest science which conclusively shows that domestic sheep diseases kill bighorn sheep. What jumps out at me is the information contained near the bottom of the article which says that the BLM is evaluating its policy regarding the two species in Idaho.

“BLM spokeswoman Jessica Gardetto said her agency is working statewide with agencies and grazing permittees on regional separation response plans, but has no timeline for their completion. Biologists are using a 30-mile separation as a guide and will review grazing allotments within that distance first.”

The bigger question here regards what is happening elsewhere. Are the BLM and Forest Service reviewing their sheep grazing permits in other states? I should hope so because, in places like Nevada, where sheep grazing routinely occurs extremely close to, or within, occupied bighorn habitat, the risk of exposure is extremely high and underestimated by the agencies in favor of the “custom and culture” of the elite ranchers who often turn out to be big corporations like Barrick Gold or the Southern Nevada Water Authority.
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