The WSF Conservation Vision 2025 reflects the essence of WSF’s combined Mission Statement (Vision, Purpose, Mission, Values), and prioritizes how WSF resources will be applied, to drive wild sheep conservation and management in North America and in Central Asia. WSF believes our 5 overarching goals are straightforward, succinct, and achievable.
Conservation Vision 2025
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 Using diverse published and unpublished sources, WSF staff modified Buechner’s map to include historic bighorn sheep distribution in Canada and Mexico.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
NewsIn addition to WSF’s Mountain Minutes bi-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
Test & Remove Workshop 2.0
Grant-In-Aid (GIA) Funding
WSF directs funding to a variety of wild sheep conservation and management programs, primarily in North America and central Asia. Our attention and focus is on landscape-scale, impactful, high-priority projects, especially projects that enhance wild sheep habitats and restore wild sheep populations.
- Alignment with our WSF Mission.
- Priority goals identified in our CV2025.
- Applications submitted by or through, or closely coordinated with, our network of WSF Chapters & Affiliates will again receive the highest priority consideration for fiscal year 2023-24.
- Applications with strong cost-share/collaborative funding from partner entities will be reviewed most favorably.
It is fiscally prudent that WSF carefully reviews grant requests we receive, and responsibly allocates the funds we have raised. Thank you in advance for your efforts on behalf of wild sheep conservation.
Blank GIA Application for Review, Prior to Beginning Formal Application
(This sneak peak allows applicants to see what information will be required)
Conservation Vision CV2025
Recent Conservation Videos
Programs & Initiatives
Grant-In-Aid (GIA) Funding
WSF directs funding to a variety of wild sheep conservation and management programs primarily in North America & central Asia. GIA funding decisions are driven by 5 overarching goals identified in the WSF Conservation Vision 2025 document. Applicants are strongly encouraged to make certain any funding applications address one or more of the identified priority goals and the WSF Mission.
Wild Sheep Foundation application form and guidance documents are available June 1, 2021 for review by applicants. GIA Application for our next fiscal year (FY 2021-2022) will be accepted July 1, 2021: Applications will be accepted during July 2021 only.
Trap & Transplant
Over the past century, more than 22,000 wild sheep have been translocated in the U.S. and Canada, in more than 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.
MANAGING “CHEATGRASS” AND OTHER INVASIVE GRASSES
This video was produced from a scientific presentation during the January 15 Wildlife Professionals meeting held during the Wild Sheep Foundation’s 2020 Sheep Show® convention in Reno, Nevada. In this video Stuart Jennings introduces a new and exciting enhanced soil fertility technology that can be used to manage or minimize “cheatgrass” and other annual grass infestations.
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 previously occupied that Rocky Crate Chair position, leading efforts to identify respiratory pathogens that lead to pneumonia outbreaks and subsequent die-offs of wild sheep, west-wide.
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.
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 22 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 Summits
Building upon Thinhorn Sheep Summit I held in 2014 in Richmond, British Columbia, and Thinhorn Sheep Summit II held in 2017 in Anchorage, AK, Thinhorn Sheep Summit III, to be held in Whitehorse, Yukon in spring 2022 will again focus 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.
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®
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.