Bighorns Killed after Contacting Domestic Sheep

Excerpt from The Post Register

“Domestic sheep and goats often carry pathogens that wild sheep may be susceptible to…”

Two bighorn sheep rams that were in immediate proximity to domestic sheep near Challis were euthanized Thursday to prevent the sheep from potentially carrying disease back to the wild herd. One ram was 5 years old and the other was 6 years old. Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials killed two bighorn rams after attempts to dart and radio collar the animals failed Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning.

The bighorn sheep were removed from a hillside adjacent to a small flock of domestic sheep on the outskirts of Challis, a Fish and Game news release said.

Samples were taken immediately after the sheep were killed, and the samples and carcasses were transported to a wildlife health lab for analysis.

Because bighorn sheep are susceptible to diseases that can be carried by domestic sheep and goats, the Department’s 2010 Bighorn Sheep Management Plan provides direction that Fish and Game remove bighorns in a timely manner when they come in contact with domestic herds to prevent potential transmission of disease to other bighorn sheep, the release said.

Domestic sheep and goats often carry pathogens that wild sheep may be susceptible to and that can result in fatal pneumonia or other diseases, the release said. The greatest risk occurs when a wild sheep mixes with domestic sheep or goats and then returns to a wild herd, potentially spreading the pathogens. In some cases, this can result in large-scale die-offs in wild sheep.

The bighorn rams were killed to prevent risk of them returning to their herds and potentially infecting other bighorns, the release said. The domestic sheep are also being tested…(CONTINUED)


Categories: Uncategorized

Tagged as: , ,

12 replies »

    • My question, too. Poor journalism to not include these basic facts. If the sheep were in an illegal area their owners should be fined for the death of the two Bighorns, same as if anyone else needlessly caused their death out of season and without a permit (wanton waste).


    • Looks like killing them was not their first choice, but it was too risky to the wild sheep to let the exposed rams return to wild flocks:

      “Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials killed two bighorn rams after attempts to dart and radio collar the animals failed Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning.”


  1. Wouldnt the simplest solution be to NOT graze domestic livestock anywhere near these WILD sheep? I realize that might be too easy for any of our government agencies to comprehend – but come on now – kill bighorns because of domestic sheep & kill bison because of livestock? Seems simple to me!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lets See Doesnt that explain the Arguments we have had about true Invasive species. Horses that are Wild are NOT spreading disease, YET DOMESTIC LIVESTOCK SUCH AS CATTLE AND SHEEP AND GOATS DO…..HMMM So much for whpse Invasive. Of course we have Always jnllkniwn domestics carry illnesses.


  3. So why are the domestic sheep allowed anywhere near the Wild Ones? This situation is no different than the Cattleman butchering all the Bison to prevent brucellosis which they can vaccinate for and don’t. It seems they would rather kill the Wild Ones rather than take care of the domestic cattle like they should.


  4. Who are the Idaho fish and game protecting?…….if the bullets that killed the big horns made their mark…why couldn’t the darts?…..it was easier to kill them…than dart them, sample their blood….I would demand to know if in fact these rams were infected…..and if so, take actions against the owners of the domestic sheep to clean things up…..it’s a case of laziness….


    • Golde, not defending anyone here, but to dart an animal you must be a whole lot closer than you can easily get with wild sheep, especially once they are on to your intentions and scramble into areas generally impassable to people. High-powered rifles have a vastly longer range. It sounds like their first attempts failed and the sheep were spooked, making additional darting efforts impossible.


  5. Then why were they trying to tag/radio collar them first?
    Why would they do that if they needed to be destroyed to remove risks to wild flocks??


  6. So why don’t they capture the wild sheep and quarantine and test them for the disease they think they may have gotten from the domestic sheep????. Also why do domestic sheep have free reign? Why can’t they be fenced off to protect the indigenous wild sheep? So , they kill bison who wander off Yellowstone cause they might (but never have) spread brucellosis to cattle and they kill big horns who come in contact with domestic sheep in case they may have gotten something from the domestic sheep, to protect the rest of the wild herd but they never test the wild sheep to see if they have caught something before they kill them.
    OK Stupid


Care to make a comment?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.