California Bighorns to non-Alpine mountain Enviroments in Wyoming?
When I was at the 2010 Wyoming Outdoors Expo at the Events center, I spoke to the Wild Sheep People and the people from the Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center in Dubois.
They had indicated that both sheep organizations wanted to introduce California Bighorns into some of the suitable California bighorn enviroments in Wyoming.
I think that this is pretty stupid.
1. Most marginal Rocky Mountain Bighorn habitat is utilized by livestock producers for grazing cattle, domestic sheep and angora goats. Many of these Forest Service and BLM leases are in excess of 50 years old.
2. The USFWS is fairly unfriendly to animals it considers to be non-native, along with the Park Service in Yellowstone their is a push to remove the Mountain Goats from Yellowstone National Park, as they are non-native and compete with Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep.
3. As California Bighorns are not native to Wyoming, and the USFWS would see them as an exotic, and is probably not going to let the Sheep Organizations transplant California bighorns anyway, why not work with the Park Service to capture Mountain Goats from Yellowstone and move them to the high desert climates that the Audoban Bighorn was native to in the early 1900s.
As A: Mountain goats are not suceptable to domestic livestock enroachment diseases, and can not inbreed.
And B: We could solve the Yellowstone (conceived) Goat Problem and introduce more mountain goat oppurtunity for sportsmen in Wyoming.
If it was up to me, I'd work with the Wyoming Wool Growers to determine what areas they would be willing to keep domestic sheep free for 50 years. Instead of waisting money on introducing wild sheep that will be killed by domestic sheep and goat diseases.
While I am a member of Wild Sheep and Grand Slam/Ovis I grew up in sheep producing family and feel that ranchers have just as much of a right to make a living as anyone else.
Wolves and Democrats are the real enemy, we just have to work with the sheep organizations (both domestic and wild) as well as the Park Service, USFWS, BLM, Forest Service and Wyoming Game and Fish to ensure that we are doing this the right way.