FWP considers new bighorn herd in headwater area of the Bitterroot River

Sticking point is probably domestic sheep-

If there are domestic sheep, they probably shouldn’t risk it.

Montana FWP considers new bighorn herd in Bitterroot. By Perry Backus. Ravalli Republic

Clashing sheep cultures in Idaho

Domestic sheep versus bighorn sheep and cultural traditions-

Nice to have an article about Idaho’s tiny, but powerful sheep culture (and those who have cultural ties to bighorn).

These domestic sheep guys are Governor Clement Otter’s pals. I’d like to see an article about the planned demise of Idaho’s educational culture at the hands of these land barons and their ilk.

Clashing sheep cultures in Idaho. As bighorn sheep numbers dwindle, efforts to keep them away from domestic sheep and disease are forcing a cost in the sheep industry — and could grow. By Rocky Barker.  Idaho Statesman.

Judge overturns BLM grazing decision

This is what WWP calls “low hanging fruit”

Ely Sheep Grazing Allotments. The orange polygons represent bighorn sheep distribution and the red polygon represents the Warm Springs sheep trail. Click for larger view.

For the last several years I have been appealing grazing decision issued by the Ely District of the BLM and, over and over again, the District only considers alternatives which maintain the status quo even when they have identified problems on the allotments that are either caused by or exacerbated by livestock grazing.

The decision that was overturned and remanded back to the Ely District was for sheep grazing on 8 allotments encompassing 1.3 million acres of the Egan Field Office.  In their decision the BLM only considered two alternatives, one which would have renewed the previous 10-year decision without any changes; and one which would have renewed the permit with very minor changes in seasonal use, and placed very weak utilization standards on different components of the vegetation but kept the exact same number of grazing AUMs.  They didn’t consider a no grazing alternative or an alternative which would have reduced grazing levels at all.

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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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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]*

One reason why domestic sheep are such disease ridden menaces?

Sheep laden with germs and parasites are more likely to produce lambs than less diseased sheep-

I don’t know if this is a strange result of evolution or due to deliberate breeding, but it is shocking.

Sheep Study Finds an Upside to a Weak Immune System. New York Times.

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.

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