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Montana Wild Sheep Restoration Progressing


August 14, 2020
posted in: Conservation, News

The Wild Sheep Foundation (WSF) today announced a historic day for wild sheep in Montana. Two new trap and transplant projects were approved by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (MTFWP), as well as a conservation easement agreement in prime bighorn sheep habitat. 
 
“This was a big day for us and all our partners and supporters who work tirelessly for wild sheep,” said Kurt Alt, Conservation Director for Montana and International Sheep and Goat Programs for WSF. “We thank MTFWP and the Fish and Wildlife Commission for moving forward with these reintroduction efforts that will begin this fall in Montana’s Little Belt Mountains, and wild sheep restoration in the Tendoy Mountains.
 
The Commission also approved the Lone Tree Conservation easement in bighorn sheep Hunting District 680. With this 11,285-acre conservation easement, the land will remain in private ownership and agricultural management, while preserving critical habitat for wild sheep and other species and ensuring public hunting access for future generations.
 
In their meeting, MTFWP awarded the Wild Sheep Foundation the 2021 state-wide bighorn sheep conservation permit for auction. WSF has auctioned the opportunity for a sportsman to hunt one ram in exchange for a significant financial contribution to the state’s overall bighorn sheep conservation and management programs. 2021 will mark the 34th year WSF has auctioned this opportunity. To date, the highly coveted Montana Tag has raised an amazing $7,220,000 with a record selling price of $480,000 in 2013. Under Montana law, these funds have gone directly toward bighorn sheep research, disease prevention, heard heath surveillance, habitat conservation, and reintroductions.
 
“WSF, in close collaboration with our chapter, Montana WSF, has given our strong voice of support for all of these projects,” commented Gray N. Thornton, president, and CEO of the Wild Sheep Foundation. “We are proud to be part of a larger group, including hunter and industry-based conservation interests working together to support these reintroductions and habitat projects. We also want to acknowledge the hard and unprecedented efforts by MTWSF and MT Woolgrowers Association, continually working together to find ways to support wild and domestic sheep. It’s milestones like this that will pay divides for generations to come.”

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