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Sick Bighorn Sheep In Idaho—The Public Owns The Public Lands

File:BigHorn Sheep in Alberta CA.jpg

A Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep in Idaho is thought to have pneumonia. This could be a problem for other Bighorn Sheep.

( Above– A Bighorn Sheep in Alberta. As a general rule it is cold in Alberta. But it seems like an nice day for a sheep stroll in that picture.)

Here are many facts about Bighorn Sheep. They eat grass and seeds and plants.

From an Associated Press story about the sick sheep that I referenced above—

The hunt is on for a Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep ram believed to be sick with pneumonia. It’s a race wildlife officials saycould mean life and death for other members of the wild herd in the Salmon River canyon.  Idaho Fish and Game wildlife managers are trying to kill the ram, to keep it from spreading disease to the roughly 100 other bighorns that live here. But the ram has eluded them for more than a week and is now running with other rams. The afflicted bighorn ram was seen near domestic sheep and this incident could prove another flashpoint in the contentious debate over how to manage wild sheep and livestock in remote western Idaho. The ram is reported to be lethargic, coughing, sneezing and discharging mucus from its nostrils, all signs of a disease that has plagued bighorn sheep all over the West. Most wildlife researchers believe it is contracted by wild sheep after coming into contact with their domestic cousins…In the 2009 Legislature, bighorns were front and center when lawmakers voted to require the Idaho Department of Fish and Game develop a plan to keep bighorns away from domestic sheep now being blamed for spreading diseases. That was after a harsher version that would have required the agency to either relocate or kill bighorns that wandered onto public grazing allotments was vetoed by Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter…”

Here is how the issue is reported in the Lewiston (Idaho) Tribune.

(Below—A Bighorn sheep taking in the view at the Grand Canyon.)

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The blog Ralph Muaghan’s Wildlife News also writes about the sick sheep.

This is how Dr. Maughan describes himself in his blog—

“How big is my spread? Well it’s about 700-million acres, but the funny thing is it’s your ranch too if you’re an American citizen. The ranch is our American public lands, our great national commons. Trouble is there are a lot folks around who want to steal our land. . . plenty of them here in Idaho, but even worse ones in other states. As for me, I want to put a few more wolves and grizzly bears on the ranch and run fewer cattle. I tend to favor real elk over “slow elk” and bighorn sheep over sheep. Some folks say that’s the wrong idea. Maybe it’s because like most westerners my ranch house is in a Western small city. For me, that’s Pocatello, Idaho.”

Dr. Maughan is a Dr. because he was for many years a professor of Political Science. His blog is worthy of your review.

It is always the right day to learn something new or to learn more about a subject you care about.

Dr. Maughan is also President of the Wolf Recovery Foundation. This group seeks to reintroduce Wolves into the Rockies.

Here is a report from this past April about the status of wolves in the Rocky Mountains.

Dr. Maughan is right that we all own the public lands.

Here are lyrics from Woody Guthrie’s This Land Is Your Land—

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California, to the New York Island
From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me

As I was walking a ribbon of highway
I saw above me an endless skyway
I saw below me a golden valley
This land was made for you and me

Here are the full lyrics. Here are facts about Woody Guthrie.

Bighorn Sheep and Wolves have a right to live in the Rockies and in Idaho because that is where they were meant to be in the first place. I care about how people live and I know people must live and work. Yet a balance must be struck. Wiping out a creature or driving it out of its habitat is not a balance. That’s what I would term a slaughter.

(Below–Bitterroot Mountains in Idaho and Montana. Here is the link to the Bitterroot National Forest.)


June 4, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments