The WSF North American Conservation Vision 2020 document (NACV2020) and International Conservation Vision 2025 (I-CV2025) reflects the very essence of WSF’s combined Mission Statement (Vision, Purpose, Mission, Values) and prioritizes how WSF resources will be applied to year 2020, to drive wild sheep conservation and management in North America and in Central Asia. WSF believes these identified priority goals are practicable, necessary, and achievable. The NACV2020 and I-CV2025 are dynamic documents that will be updated, augmented, and improved as science, environmental, and social realities evolve, and as budgets allow.
International Conservation Vision CV2025
Bighorn Sheep Historic Distribution
In his classic monograph “The Bighorn Sheep in the United States, Its Past, Present, and Future”, Helmut K. Buechner included a map (circa 1850) depicting approximate bighorn sheep distribution prior to European settlement of the West. Using diverse published and unpublished sources, WSF staff modified Buechner’s map to include historic bighorn sheep distribution in Canada and Mexico. Buechner also included a map (circa 1960) showing much-reduced bighorn distribution; WSF staff again modified Buechner’s 1960 map to reflect extant bighorn sheep distribution in Canada and Mexico. In 2012, the Western Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) Wild Sheep Working Group, using more refined GIS mapping applications, carefully mapped current distribution of bighorn sheep in the same 14 western states that Buechner had mapped, plus added the state of Texas. WSF staff again added current bighorn distribution for Canada and Mexico to the WAFWA 2012 map, to portray current North American-wide bighorn sheep distribution.
Bighorn distribution was dramatically reduced between 1850 – 1960, but through collaborative efforts between conservation organizations such as the Wild Sheep Foundation and our network of Chapters and Affiliates, state and provincial fish and game departments, public and Crown land-management agencies, private landowners, and other supporters, North American bighorn distribution has greatly increased over the past ~60 years. Commensurate with increased distribution, in that six-decade time period, North American bighorn sheep population estimates have more than tripled from fewer than 25,000 to currently more than 85,000.
Historic Distribution Map
In addition to WSF’s Mountain Minutes weekly compilation of outdoor news, WSF periodically posts important news stories and notices relative to wild sheep conservation and management. Past stories are archived for easy access.
Recent Conservation News
Grant-In-Aid (GIA) Funding
WSF directs funding to a variety of wild sheep conservation and management programs, primarily in North America. GIA funding decisions are driven by priority goals identified in the WSF N.A. CV2020 and International CV2025 documents, and applicants are strongly encouraged to make certain any funding applications address one or more of the identified priority goals and the WSF Mission.
The Wild Sheep Foundation GIA application form and guidance document are available June 1, 2019 for review by applicants. GIA applications for our next fiscal year (FY 2019-2020) will be accepted beginning July 1, 2019; applications will be accepted during the month of July 2019 only.
North American Conservation Vision 2020
International Conservation Vision CV2025
Recent Conservation Videos
Programs & Initiatives
Trap & Transplant
Over the past 90+ years, approximately 22,000 wild sheep have been translocated in the U.S. and Canada, in almost 1,500 separate transplant operations. Since inception, WSF and our network of Chapters and Affiliates have supported and participated in hundreds of wild sheep transplants, providing funding, manpower, and critical political support to assist state and provincial agencies with wild sheep restoration efforts.
Without habitat, there would be no wild sheep. WSF has a long and notable record of supporting wild sheep habitat enhancements, ranging from prescribed burning to water development, and from noxious weed control to fence modification. Periodically, WSF strategically partners with other individuals and organizations to secure permanent conservation easements and/or land acquisitions on parcels that provide crucial wild sheep habitat.
Effective Separation Domestic and Wild Sheep
For decades, WSF and our network of Chapters and Affiliates have advocated for effective temporal and spatial separation between wild sheep and domestic sheep and/or goats. WSF has advocated for and partnered on dozens of voluntary domestic sheep grazing allotment waivers in multiple states. WSF has engaged the domestic sheep industry, seeking collaboration and trying to improve relationship-building and common understanding.
Disease Research & Surveillance
WSF has a long record of support for wild sheep disease research, most notably, our continuing support for the Rocky Crate Chair for Wild Sheep Disease Research, at Washington State University in Pullman, WA. Drs. Sri and Besser have occupied that Rocky Crate Chair position for the past dozen years, leading efforts to identify respiratory pathogens that lead to pneumonia outbreaks and subsequent die-offs of wild sheep, west-wide.
Wild Horses & Burros
The Wild Sheep Foundation is an active member of the Steering Committee for the National Horse and Burro Rangeland Management Coalition, comprised of 18 national wildlife, sportsmen, livestock industry, and land conservation organizations that share a commitment to achieving sound management of horses and burros to promote healthy rangelands and wildlife.
WSF Conservation Policies
Periodically, WSF formalizes policy and position statements on a variety of issues and topics that affect and involve wild sheep conservation. Largely developed through the WSF Professional Resource Advisory Board (PRAB) and vetted through the WSF Conservation Committee, policy statements are advanced to the WSF Board of Directors, for final editing and formal adoption.
WAFWA Wild Sheep Working Group
Formed in 2006 by the WAFWA Directors, the Wild Sheep Working Group’s purposes are to:
1) Identify priority topics and management challenges to wild sheep in the western U.S. and Canada;
2) Collaboratively develop solutions to those challenges; and
3) Foster strong relationships between wild sheep agencies and wild sheep advocates
Thinhorn Sheep Summit II
Building upon the first-ever Thinhorn Sheep Summit I held three years ago in Richmond, British Columbia, this second gathering spent two days focused on evaluating challenges and opportunities for enhancing management of Dall’s and Stone’s sheep in Alaska, northern British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, and the Yukon Territory.
International Wild Sheep & Goats
The International Conservation Vision 2025 sets WSF direction and priorities for conservation of Caprinae outside of North America, with primary emphasis on conservation of Asian wild sheep populations. This strategy articulates WSF’s vision, mission, and purpose in prioritizing how resources will be applied to assist wild sheep conservation and management worldwide. The International Conservation Vision 2025 is a dynamic draft that will be adjusted, as necessary.
WSF Professional Resource Advisory Board (PRAB)
WSF benefits immensely from the volunteer efforts of a cadre of professional wildlife biologists who form our Professional Resource Advisory Board, commonly known as PRAB. The mission and purpose of PRAB is to serve as a consultative body to the WSF Board of Directors and WSF Conservation Committee, providing scientific, wildlife and habitat management, land use and other specialized expertise to assist the Board in their policy and Grant-In-Aid (GIA) funding decisions.
As the world’s premier wild sheep conservation organization, WSF annually recognize the work of individuals, agencies, legislators and organizations supporting our purpose To Put and Keep Wild Sheep on the Mountain®
Grant-In-Aid (GIA) Funding
WSF directs funding to a variety of wild sheep conservation and management programs, primarily in North America. GIA funding decisions are driven by priority goals identified in the WSF N.A. CV2020 and WSF International CV2025 documents, and applicants are strongly encouraged to make certain any funding applications address one or more of the identified priority goals and the WSF Mission.