By Kit Fischer - Wildlife Conflict Resolution Program Manager
Bighorn sheep in Idaho's Lemhi Mountains
The National Wildlife Federation continues to make great success in eliminating wildlife / livestock conflicts on public lands in the West. Most notably, last month NWF negotiated a grazing agreement with a domestic sheep producer in central Idaho (Lemhi Mountains) to retire his allotment to protect neighboring bighorn sheep.
While this allotment retirement was quite small (25 sheep on 5,000 acres) the risk of those domestic sheep passing deadly pneumonia to their wild counterparts was extremely high. By compensating the rancher to retire the allotment, he is able to sell the sheep and afford the costs to convert his entire operation to cattle, which pose no disease risk to area wildlife and are a less likely target for predation. A win for wildlife and a win for a long-time family ranch.
This retirement is also significant in that it was the last remaining domestic sheep allotment in the entire Lemhi mountain range- thereby securing a future for one of Idaho's healthiest populations of domestic sheep.
In addition, several other grazing agreements are in the works, two sheep allotments in Idaho and another five in Wyoming and our first grazing agreement in Colorado--in the Sarvis Creek Wilderness near Steamboat Springs, will likely be completed in the coming weeks. 2016 is shaping up to be a big year for wildlife and wild places and it wouldn't be possible without the continued support of our donors!
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