Utah – KSL Outdoors Show:
Biologists monitoring the California Big Horn Sheep herd on Antelope Island have discovered that the herd is infected with a respiratory disease. Biologists flew the island yesterday and only found a small portion of the animals still alive. In fact, they only found four rams still alive and six dead rams. Unfortunately, antibiotics and vaccines are not effective at treating the disease. Biologists can only speculate on how this herd got infected. For now, the Utah Wildlife Board has suspended the two ram hunts scheduled on the island for 2019. This herd was a nursery herd for three other start up herds in Utah. Sheep from Antelope Island started herds on the Newfoundlands, Stansbury, and Oak Creek mountain ranges. The Antelope Island herd was started with I believe was about 30 sheep a few decades ago. The herd grew and was very important to our sheep conservation in Utah. While sad, this is an important discovery. Biologists are working on what steps will be taken next. More than likely, the herd will be euthanized and steps will be taken to restart this very valuable herd. Watching the DWR’S Wildlife Board this afternoon was like watching a funeral. Some pretty upset biologists and board members. A lot of time and effort has been put into these sheep. Let’s hope they can come up with a plan to get this herd re-established.