If you see a bighorn sheep in or near the Pedro Mountains in Wyoming, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) wants you to give them a call. The agency is currently tracking the whereabouts of the Ferris-Seminoe herd following the Pedro Mountain fire that burned over 20,000 acres near the Seminoe and Bennett Mountains. Officials fear that the fire pushed the wild herd closer to where domestic sheep graze, increasing their chances of contracting a disease.
According to a press release, officials believe that the recent Pedro Mountain fire has created “improved forage” for bighorn sheep, which means they could “wander and co-mingle with domestic sheep,” thus putting them at risk of contracting diseases like pneumonia. Further, the areas where these wild sheep could wander are outside of the Herd Unit where desert bighorn sheep are not managed for or desired due to these “disease concerns.”
Thanks to donations from the Wyoming Outdoor Weekend, the Wyoming Governor’s Big Game License Coalition and the Wyoming Chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation, WGFD has secured GPS collars and will capture and collar Ferris-Seminoe bighorn sheep along the Miracle Mile between Rawlins and Casper over the next few weeks. WGFD plans to carefully monitor the bighorn sheep through the GPS collars “so that preventative measures can be employed to prevent disease transmission.” Domestic sheep grazing is allowed there per a working partnership between WGFD and the agricultural community, according to the agency.
“Bighorn sheep are sensitive to many pathogens, so we take reasonable precautions to prevent exposure of these pathogens to the herd,” said Hank Edwards, WGFD’s wildlife health laboratory supervisor.
Should you spot a bighorn sheep in or near the Pedro Mountains, please contact WGFD at 307-332-2688 (Lander), 307-745-4046 (Laramie) or 307-473-3400 (Casper).