The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will conduct aerial captures of bighorn sheep later this month as part of ongoing efforts to monitor the Umtanum/Selah Butte, Manson and Sinlahekin herds.
Bighorn sheep conservation in Washington is challenged by outbreaks of pneumonia and, in some herds, limited knowledge of how they use their habitat. Bighorn pneumonia is caused by a pathogen called Mycoplasa ovipneumoniae. Outbreaks can result in all-age die-offs with subsequent outbreaks commonly causing additional mortality, especially in lambs, according to an agency news release.
“Fitting bighorn with radio collars gives us a better picture of how outbreaks affect the population when they occur,” said Kyle Garrison, WDFW ungulate section manager. “The GPS data from those collars also allows us to quantify how they use their habitat, which ultimately helps us manage for quality habitat and healthy bighorn herds”.
WDFW will deploy approximately 10 collars in both the Manson and Sinlahekin herds and replace five collars in the Umtanum/Selah Butte herd.
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