During our April board meeting in Anchorage the WSF Board of Directors tasked WSF conservation staff and WSF Director and NDOW Wildlife Vet Dr. Peregrine Wolff to draft a short “Issue Statement” (talking points) on the BHS/DS disease transfer issue to assist our members and friends to better articulate and promulgate this important issue facing wild sheep. WSF conservation staff, Dr. Wolff and our Professional Resource Advisory Board (PRAB) all developed the attached Issue Statement which was adopted by the Board of Directors during our meeting in Polson, MT. It will soon be uploaded to our website under the ABOUT/BYLAWS & POLICIES/CONSERVATION section of our documents archive.
Many chapters and affiliates alongside our state agency partners have faced challenges managing wild sheep on federal public lands designated wilderness, monument, preserve or other protected status. In fact, in 1995 nearly 50 (known) desert bighorn sheep died near Old Dad Peak in southern California after contracting botulism from water from a damaged drinker which was contaminated after three lambs fell into the drinker tank, drowned, rotted and poisoned the water. A similar situation could very well occur in southern California now with a known damaged drinker tank – aerial and/or motorized access to repair the drinker has thus far been denied. Access for Management was identified as conservation objectives for both thinhorn and bighorn sheep during our initial Thinhorn Summit in 2014 and by the WAFWA Wild Sheep Working Group and is incorporated as objectives in our North American Conservation Vision 2020. Recently our Legislative Affairs Committee and PRAB were tasked with drafting a Position Statement on this important need. The approved paper is linked below.
Please feel free to disseminate these documents as you see fit.