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WILD SHEEP FOUNDATION INDUCTS NEW MEXICO WILD SHEEP BIOLOGIST INTO WALL OF FAME AND PRESENTS NEVADA WILDLIFE VETERINARIAN WITH STATE STATESMAN AWARD


January 25, 2017
posted in: News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 25, 2017
Media Contact: Gray Thornton, 406.404.8750, gthornton@wildsheepfoundation.org
 
WILD SHEEP FOUNDATION INDUCTS NEW MEXICO WILD SHEEP BIOLOGIST INTO WALL OF FAME AND PRESENTS NEVADA WILDLIFE VETERINARIAN WITH STATE STATESMAN AWARD
 
RENO, NEV. The Bozeman, Montana based Wild Sheep Foundation (WSF) has announced the induction of Dr. Eric Rominger to the WSF Wild Sheep Biologist’s Wall of Fame. WSF also conferred its 2017 State Statesman Award on Nevada Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Peregrine “Peri” L. Wolff, DVM.
 
The announcement and the award were made on Jan. 18 at WSF’s 2017 Convention and Sporting Expo, The Sheep Show™, held at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center and Peppermill Resort Spa & Casino.
 
For over two decades, Rominger has served as the lead bighorn sheep biologist for the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish. He has devoted over 23 years of his professional life to bighorn sheep conservation, according to WSF Senior Conservation Director Kevin Hurley, who selected Rominger for the award. Hurley adds that Rominger’s career includes involvement in the capture and handling of over 1,000 bighorn sheep and leading the effort to restore the desert bighorn from endangered status to a currently growing population of over 1,100 sheep—a nearly tenfold increase since 2001.
 
The Wild Sheep Biologist’s Wall of Fame was established in 2007 and sponsored by Hurley. Inductees are chosen based on their scientific contributions to the enhancement of North America’s wild sheep and sheep hunting opportunities derived from sound wildlife management.


 
“Dr. Rominger is well-published, well-respected, and is the ideal role model for wild sheep conservation that embodies our Wild Sheep Biologist’s Wall of Fame values,” Hurley said.
 
Desert bighorn were listed as a state endangered species in New Mexico in 1980. Despite transplant efforts, bighorn population recovery faltered. Wild populations did not exceed 215 in the 1980s and 1990s. Mountain lion predation was identified as one factor in the wild sheep decline. Rominger was involved in mitigating the predator threat, introducing wild sheep into mortality affected areas, and other prudent management practices, including radio-collar monitoring of wild sheep herds. Because of the resulting resurgence in wild sheep populations, New Mexico downlisted the desert bighorn from state endangered to state threatened in 2008, and de-listed desert bighorns in 2011. Today, due to population growth, the desert bighorn stands out as a conservation success story, says WSF CEO and President Gray N. Thornton.
 
A longtime WSF member, Rominger is a two-time recipient of WSF’s State Statesman Award for activism on behalf of wild-sheep conservation.
 
WSF’s 2017 State Statesman award winner Wolff has cared for members of the animal kingdom ranging from tarantulas to elephants and currently serves as the wildlife veterinarian for the state of Nevada. She currently serves as the president of the American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians.  As NDOW’s veterinarian, she is involved in health and conservation projects involving primarily wild sheep but also some non-sheep species.
 
Wolff is a member of the WSF Conservation Committee and contributed to the preparation of WSF’s North American Conservation Vision 2020 guiding document. She has met with members of state and federal government representatives to explain how wild sheep are susceptible to diseases carried and transmitted by domestic sheep and goats. 


 
“Dr. Wolff has always been passionate about sharing her knowledge and volunteering her leadership skills and experience around the globe to promote the health of free-ranging wildlife, including wild sheep,” Thornton said. “The Wild Sheep Foundation and the Fraternity of Desert Bighorn are recognizing Dr. Wolff as the 2017 State Statesman for her exceptional and selfless efforts serving the wild sheep of Nevada, the wildlife conservation community and for her work towards the conservation and enhancement of wild sheep throughout North America.”

Through the state of Nevada’s management programs, supported by WSF, the number of desert bighorns has increased from less than 3,000 in 1980 to nearly 9,000 in 2014. California bighorns were reestablished in the northwestern part of the state in the 1990s and now have nearly 2,000 sheep spread out in northwest Nevada. In total, there are an estimated 10,000 bighorns across the state.

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The Bozeman, Montana based Wild Sheep Foundation, formerly the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep (FNAWS,) was founded in 1977 by wild sheep conservationists and enthusiasts. WSF’s Mission is to enhance wild sheep populations, promote professional wildlife management, and educate the public and youth on sustainable use and the conservation benefits of hunting while promoting the interests of the hunter and all stakeholders. With a membership of more than 6,700 worldwide and a Chapter and Affiliate network in North America and Europe, WSF is the premier advocate for wild sheep, other mountain wildlife, their habitat, and their conservation. Since forming in 1977, the Wild Sheep Foundation and its chapters and affiliates have raised and expended more than $110 million on conservation, education and conservation advocacy programs in North America, Europe and Asia towards its Purpose to “Put and Keep Wild Sheep On the Mountain”™. These and other efforts have resulted in a three-fold increase in bighorn sheep populations in North America from their historic 1950-60s lows of ~25,000 to ~85,000 today. WSF, our Chapters and Affiliates and agencies partners are also working together to ensure thinhorn sheep thrive in their northern mountain realms for generations to enjoy.
 

 

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