Marking the third bighorn removed from the area bordering Challis, Idaho, a one-year-old bighorn sheep ram was removed from the wild after mixing with a herd domestic sheep.
To reduce the risk of spreading disease contracted from livestock, Idaho Fish and Game officials took the lethal actions after receiving local reports that the ram was observed inside a pen on private property.
“We hate to have to take this action, but we believe it’s necessary to stop the spread of a disease that could devastate multiple herds of wild bighorn sheep,” said Hollie Miyasaki, Fish and Game Bighorn Sheep biologist. “We will continue to work with the landowner to prevent any more interactions.”
Given the fact that domestic sheep and goats often carry pathogens that can affect wild sheep, the Department’s 2010 Bighorn Sheep Management Plan outlines that bighorns are required to be removed in a timely manner after coming in contact with domestic herds.
These guidelines are in place to prevent the possible spread of fatal diseases such as pneumonia, which can often have catastrophic effects on wild sheep herds.
After the bighorn was euthanized, samples were extracted from the animal and sent to a wildlife health lab for analysis. The domestic sheep on the property were also subject to testing.