By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: January 19, 2024

from the Wild Sheep Foundation

The Wild Sheep Foundation (WSF) proudly recognizes and acknowledges a $40,000 conservation grant from the SITKA Ecosystem Grants program. The funds will be used to support Year 6 of a bighorn sheep pathogen surveillance and disease intervention project along the Fraser River in south-central British Columbia.

“SITKA has been the official sponsor of our annual Sheep Show® convention in Reno since 2015 and has been a pioneering sponsor of our <1 Club, Women Hunt®, and other innovative WSF programs, films, campaigns, and conservation initiatives,” said Gray N. Thornton, President and CEO of the Wild Sheep Foundation. “Now, through its Ecosystem Grants program, SITKA is stepping up once again to directly impact wild sheep populations on the ground,” added Thornton.

Across the West, wild sheep managers and wildlife veterinarians are working closely with local communities, First Nation/tribal partners, conservation stakeholders, and WSF’s network of Chapters and Affiliates to address respiratory pneumonia in wild sheep populations.

Test-and-remove is one strategy being implemented and evaluated in at least nine states plus the province of British Columbia,” said Kevin Hurley, WSF Vice-President for Conservation. “Through this program, individual bighorns and sub-herds are captured and sampled for respiratory pathogens, and infected individuals are removed from those populations when necessary. Early results indicate Test & Remove has improved survival of bighorn sheep lambs.”

The Wild Sheep Foundation has supported the Fraser River project for the past five years.

“The conservation of wild sheep is in our DNA at SITKA,” stated Lindsey Davis, Director of Conservation and Advocacy for SITKA. “The Fraser River project is an incredible example of how collaboration that spans governmental boundaries in North America leads to successful conservation work. We’re proud to continue our partnership with the Wild Sheep Foundation, and build on our support by contributing to this important effort,” said Davis.

“Our mission is to Put and Keep Wild Sheep on the Mountain®,” stated Thornton.” WSF greatly appreciates this ‘on-the-ground’ support from SITKA as British Columbia’s wild sheep managers embark on Year 6 of this complex and promising project. WSF truly thanks SITKA and its customers for the enduring support.”

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