WILDLIFE -- Helicopters are flying in Hells Canyon starting today for a two-week effort to capture 100 bighorn sheep in five herds in a multi-state research effort.
Idaho, Oregon and Washington wildlife agencies are joining forces through Feb. 14 to boost the ongoing Hells Canyon Initiative to restore bighorn sheep populations that have struggled with disease issues for decades.
The wild sheep are being captured by net gunning from a helicopter and brought to nearby processing sites.
Biologists will take health samples, radio collar the sheep and release them on site.
Idaho Fish and Game officials say the operation is a cooperative effort among the state agencies and the Washington Wild Sheep Foundation, Oregon Foundation for North American Wild Sheep with assistance from the U.S. Forest Service and Nez Perce and Umatilla tribes.
The research will determine health status and test strategies for managing disease in Hells Canyon bighorns.