Bighorn sheep removed from Sinks Canyon State Park
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The Wyoming Game and Fish Department removed three young bighorn sheep rams from Sinks Canyon State Park on Wednesday, June 12. Personnel collected samples for disease testing and have donated the meat to individuals in need. The bighorn sheep are believed to have traveled from North Fork Canyon, northwest of Lander, where a small herd exists. 


“Young rams often range longer distances exploring new territories and move back and forth between their original herd and new habitat. Along their travels, bighorns can come into contact with domestic sheep where they occur,” Game and Fish Wildlife Biologist Stan Harter said.“If we suspect commingling has occurred we will euthanize the wandering bighorn sheep to protect the rest of the wild herd from diseases that can be carried from the domestic sheep.”


When bighorn sheep co-mingle with domestic sheep they may be exposed to bacteria that domestic sheep are known to harbor.  While these pathogens, or bacteria, may be treatable in domestic sheep, they can be fatal to bighorn sheep.


“Wandering bighorn sheep pose a very high risk of introducing pathogens back into their wild herds, and we want to prevent future disease events from happening. Bighorn sheep are very sensitive to many pathogens, so we take reasonable precautions to prevent exposure of these pathogens to the herd,” said Game and Fish Wildlife Health Laboratory Supervisor, Jessica Jennings-Gaines.


If you have questions, please call Regional Supervisor Jason Hunter at the Lander Game and Fish Regional Office at 307-332-2688.

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