WSF Provides Grant for $70,000+ to Study Idaho Bighorns
January 4th 2013
: January 4th 2013
Cody, Wyoming, USA. January 4, 2013 – Weather permitting, Idaho Department of Fish & Game (IDFG) plans to deploy up to 26 GPS radio-collars by mid-January 2013 on bighorn sheep in the Beaverhead and Lemhi Ranges. Continuing a 7-year, $587,000 project launched in January 2012, IDFG, U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wildlife managers have collaborated to collect critical data on bighorn sheep numbers, seasonal distribution/habitat use, lamb production/survival, health status/disease agents, and genetic connectivity between bighorn sub-populations in the North and South Beaverhead Mountains along the Idaho/Montana border, as well as in the North and South Lemhi Mountains in Idaho. According to IDFG wildlife biologist Hollie Miyasaki in Idaho Falls, “following reintroductions 25 to 35 years ago, bighorn sheep in the Beaverhead and Lemhi Mountains have persisted, but have never really thrived or expanded their ranges; our efforts are designed to collect much-needed data, and hopefully help managers understand why this has occurred.”
The Wild Sheep Foundation recognizes the importance of this multi-state, collaborative project, contributing over $70,000 to pay for high-tech GPS radio-collars. “This project matches up perfectly with the Wild Sheep Foundation’s mission and purpose,” stated WSF Conservation Director Kevin Hurley, “and we’re glad WSF could partner with IDFG, USFS, and BLM on what we anticipate will be a very significant and valuable project.”
Annually, the Wild Sheep Foundation and its Chapters and Affiliates around North America raise and spend millions of dollars for wild sheep conservation projects in North America, and around the globe. “During our 2011-2012 fiscal year, WSF raised and distributed nearly $3.6 million to programs benefiting wild sheep, other wildlife, their habitat and WSF mission initiatives. This Idaho project is just one more example of our commitment to our purpose of Putting and Keeping Sheep on the Mountain,” Gray N. Thornton WSF President & CEO stated. “Our FY 2011-12 program funding represents more than $700 per WSF member. In fact, for every membership dues dollar received, WSF puts $16 on the ground in mission programs…a 16:1 multiplier unmatched in our industry,” Thornton added.
The prime fundraising source for WSF conservation, education and advocacy programs is the annual Wild Sheep Foundation Convention & Sporting Expo, known to most as “The Sheep Show.” The 2013 three-day expo will be held in Reno, Nevada at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino January 31st - February 2nd kicking off with an evening event January 30th. The convention’s Official Sponsor once again is MidwayUSA whose founder’s, Larry & Brenda Potterfield, have also underwritten two youth education programs within WSF. The Youth Wildlife Conservation Experience (YWCE), now in its second year at the “Sheep Show”, will introduce nearly 600 Reno/Sparks area youth to the wonders of the outdoors, traditional outdoor sports, conservation, sporting ethics and wildlife conservation. WSF’s Shooting, Hunting, Ethics, Education Program or S.H.E.E.P. expands the YWCE program throughout North America through WSF’s chapter and affiliate network.
For more information on the Idaho bighorn sheep study, the WSF annual convention, or the Foundation’s youth education or other programs, visit www.WildSheepFoundation.org.