In 2007, the Wild Sheep Foundation pledged $375,000 to be distributed over five years to support Dr. Subramanian Srikumaran and his WSU team in their ongoing wild sheep disease research being done at Washington State University. In 2011, WSF pledged another $275,000 over the next five years to further efforts with captive bighorns, designed to make bacteria shed by domestic sheep less lethal to wild sheep. In addition, a component of that research focuses on development of a one-time, self-spreading vaccine that can be administered to wild bighorns, in the event they are “in hand” for some other purpose (e.g., translocation, research capture, etc.). Dr. Sri’s research efforts have been cooperatively funded by many of the WSF Chapters & Affiliates, along with non-WSF network funding partners (e.g., USFS, Wyoming Livestock/Wildlife Disease Partnership, Wyoming Governor’s Big Game License Coalition, etc.)
Mannheimia (Pasteurella) haemolytica is the predominant bacterial pathogen transmitted from domestic sheep to bighorn sheep when contact between these two species occur. Experiments conducted under this project have provided irrefutable data that shows that these organisms are in fact transmitted from domestic to bighorn sheep.