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Bighorn Lambs Collared for Research

July 07, 2022
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Keeping tabs on Wyoming's bighorn lambs!

Jackson - Recently, Jackson Wildlife Biologist Aly Courtemanch joined Rachel Smiley, a doctoral student with the Monteith Shop at the University of Wyoming’s Haub School, on a mission to capture and collar a newborn bighorn sheep in the Granite Creek drainage southeast of Jackson.

The monitoring of lamb survival is a component of an on-going study designed to learn more about why some bighorn sheep herds are faring better than others, looking specifically at the relationship between nutrition and disease in three bighorn sheep herds in western Wyoming.

This is the fourth year lambs have been collared in two of the herds as part of a collaboration between the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and University of Wyoming. Lambs are caught by hand, usually less than 24 hours after birth. The lamb is fitted with a lightweight tracking collar with an elastic band that will expand as it grows.

"It would be hard to overstate the amount of energy being expended by researchers to acquire these
data, given that most bighorn lambs are born in the state’s most inaccessible high-elevation locations,
and all within a short period of time," said Jackson Wildlife Biologist for the Game and Fish, Aly Courtemanch. This unique dataset is helping wildlife managers understand the habitat and health of their bighorn herds and has informed management decisions such as a proposal for one of the state’s first ewe hunting seasons in the Jackson herd this fall.

Learn more about the study led by Rachel Smiley, Brittany Wagler, and Dr. Kevin Monteith here on the Monteith Shop website. Bighorn Sheep Nutrition Disease | Monteith Shop 

Photos by Mark Gocke, WY Game and Fish Dept.

- WGFD -

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