26 bighorn sheep displaced in the Tendoy mountains of Montana
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This week, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (Montana FWP) announced that 26 bighorn sheep have been successfully transferred from Wild Horse Island on Flathead Lake to the Tendoy Mountains in Montana. 19 ewes, five rams and two lambs were released on February 19 in the hope that the animals would reestablish a flock where previous flocks once roamed, the agency reports.
Each sheep was judged to be in good health prior to displacement. Montana FWP biologists attached GPS collars to monitor daily movement, habitat use, and overall survival. While bighorn sheep were once native to the Tendoys, herds in the region have found it difficult to maintain herd numbers due to pneumonia-related deaths due to the proximity of domestic sheep and poor recruitment of lambs.
Montana FWP plans to release approximately 60 bighorn sheep into the Tendoys between 2021 and 2022 to create “a self-sustaining bighorn population.”
“We’re thrilled to have Bighorn Sheep in the Tendoys again,” said Montana’s Dillon area wildlife biologist FWP. Jesse newby. “We are grateful to our many partners for their collaboration, financial support and volunteerism.”
Funding for the project was provided by the National Wild Sheep Foundation, the Montana Wild Sheep Foundation, and the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund. Support was also provided by the Bureau of Land Management, the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and many sportsmen and private landowners.