June 8, 2018
Sean Sharpe Environmental Consulting Ltd.
6197 Willow Road
Smithers, BC V0J 2N2
On behalf of the Wild Sheep Foundation (WSF) and our undersigned Chapters and Affiliates, please accept this comment letter in support of the proposed Government Action Regulation (GAR) and Land Act Section 17 Orders, Specified Area #SA-6-292, and Land Act Section 17 Map reserve for protection of thinhorn sheep (Stone’s, Dall’s) from introduced diseases on Crown lands in northern British Columbia (BC). WSF and especially our BC affiliate (the Wild Sheep Society of BC) have been heavily engaged for years in ongoing efforts in the province to ensure adequate temporal and spatial separation between wild sheep and domestic sheep/goats.
As correctly pointed out in your cover letter, BC supports the majority of Stone’s sheep on the planet, heightening BC’s responsibility to protect this subspecies. In addition, thinhorn sheep can have catastrophic die-offs from infection via pathogens that domestic sheep, goats, and camelids commonly carry and can transmit.
We fully support the concept and approach put forth by BC’s Ministry of Forestry, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD). However, we strongly encourage a 100-km exclusion (buffer) be enacted around thinhorn sheep range in northern BC, instead of the proposed 50-km exclusion (buffer). Our recommendation is based on recent Stone’s sheep disease surveillance, their comparatively naïve disease-resistance, known and suspected seasonal movements (i.e., forays) of thinhorn sheep, and the global significance of Stone’s sheep that BC is obligated to protect. Furthermore, once an adequate exclusion (buffer) has been established and evaluated for protection of thinhorn sheep in BC, we collectively recommend a similar strategy be implemented around mapped bighorn sheep range in southern BC, to help achieve effective spatial and temporal separation for bighorns.
We look forward to hearing the next steps that will be taken to protect thinhorn sheep in northern British Columbia.
Brett K. Jefferson
Chairman of the Board
Wild Sheep Foundation
Gray N. Thornton
President & CEO
Wild Sheep Foundation
Undersigned WSF Chapters & Affiliates:
Wild Sheep Society of British Columbia
California Chapter Wild Sheep Foundation
Iowa Chapter Foundation for North American Wild Sheep
Northern Nevada Chapter Safari Club International
Bear Trust International
Yukon Chapter Wild Sheep Foundation
Washington Chapter Wild Sheep Foundation
Idaho Chapter Wild Sheep Foundation
Montana Chapter Wild Sheep Foundation
Utah Chapter Wild Sheep Foundation
Oregon Chapter Foundation for North American Wild Sheep
Fraternity of the Desert Bighorn
Rocky Mountain Bighorn Society
Wyoming Chapter Wild Sheep Foundation
Midwest Chapter Wild Sheep Foundation
Rocky Mountain Goat Alliance
Eastern Chapter Wild Sheep Foundation
New Mexico Chapter Wild Sheep Foundation
Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society
Montana State University Student Chapter Wild Sheep Foundation
Nebraska Big Game Society
Texas Bighorn Society
Nevada Bighorns Unlimited – Reno
Alberta Chapter Wild Sheep Foundation
Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep
Alaska Chapter Wild Sheep Foundation