NWF Program Manager with a collared bighorn
It's flu season and humans aren’t the only ones suffering.
Wild bighorn sheep across the west are contracting pneumonia and dying in alarming numbers. Biologists are pointing their fingers at bighorn’s domestic cousins, as a primary vector of disease causing large-scale die-offs in herds across the American West and severely limiting recovery of the species. Across the west, domestic sheep graze on millions of acres of multiple-use public lands permitted for livestock grazing. Bit by bit, NWF is working to shift livestock grazing patterns to make sure there’s plenty of room for wildlife and historic ranching operations to thrive.
Since 2002, National Wildlife Federation has been a leader in resolving conflicts between livestock and wildlife on public lands. NWF’s voluntary approach to conflict reduction—offering direct payment to ranchers to waive conflict grazing leases on public lands-- has resolved issues between bighorn sheep, bison, wolves, grizzlies and livestock on over 1.1 million acres in the west. This has resulted in significant wins for wildlife. From increasing the range of grizzly bears in the Yellowstone Ecosystem to expanding bison habitat to protecting bighorn sheep from disease, NWF's work is making a big difference.
Recent Wins for Wildlife
Our most recent conservation agreement protects at-risk wildlife such as bull trout and bighorn sheep on over 7,000 acres and cost $30,000. This is extremely important because sheep grazing on the Fisher Creek allotment posed a significant risk of disease to the East Fork of the Salmon River bighorn population. The allotment is just next door to the recently designated Cecil D. Andrus White Clouds Wilderness Area. This is good for wildlife because it qualifies for permanent grazing retirement to further protect the wilderness and wildlife values of the area.
You Can Help!
National Wildlife Federation is working across the west to expand wildlife populations and provide habitat connectivity. NWF members have played a significant role in this work through our “Adopt a Wildlife Acre” program where for only $3/acre, conflicts on public land can be permanently resolved. NWF looks forward to protecting even more habitat in 2019!
NWF's most recent agreement in central Idaho
Fisher Creek Retirement, Whitecloud Mountains, ID