Thompson River bighorn sheep Collaring Project – Get involved

Photo Credit: Peter Gutsche

The Wild Sheep Society of BC is pleased to offer our members and supporters an opportunity to ensure their donations are making a difference for BC’s Wild Sheep.

Thompson River bighorn sheep populations (Kamloops Lake and South Thompson herds) have declined over the last 6-8 years from approximately 750 individuals to approximately 350-375, while others along the Thompson River have remained stable. The cause of the population decline is currently unknown but current data suggests poor lamb survival and recruitment is a dominant factor. Investigation into adult female survival is required to determine the extent to which it may be contributing to population decline.

New funding partners have pledged to match anyone that wishes to support.  We currently have a 4-to-1 match thanks to the following conservation-minded organizations:

  • Eastern Chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation (up to $9000)
  • Mission & District Rod & Gun Club (up to $5000)
  • Wild Sheep Jurassic Classic
  • Wild Sheep Society of British Columbia

Three primary factors are suspected to be driving Thompson River bighorn sheep population declines:

  • Predation: direct mortality of lambs and adult ewes.
  • Sheep health: Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae (M.ovi) infection is of particular concern;
  • Habitat Condition: indirect effects on lamb survival through poor maternal condition in the fall; may be related to forage quality or quantity or both; confirmed issues of overgrazing and invasive plant establishment in most areas.

This project seeks to understand the relative influences of these 3 mechanisms to inform the development of effective management strategies.  Given the time, difficulty and cost associated with monitoring rates and causes of lamb mortality directly, the practical approach is to investigate level of support for those factors that are easier to assess (health, condition, adult female survival) and thereby assess level of support for the more difficult factors to measure (i.e., lamb predation).

This is a collaborative partnership with the Skeetchestn Indian Band, Tk’emlups te Secwepemc, Wild Sheep Society of BC(WSSBC), BC Wildlife Federation, and Thompson Rivers University.

Through the genersity of our funding partners your donation will be matched 4-to-1.  Your $100 becomes $500 thanks to Eastern Chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation, Mission and District Rod and Gun Club, WSSBC and the Jurassic Classic.  A $1500 donation will get you one hour of helicopter time or purchase one collar with one year of air time.

Your donation is Monarch eligible and we will offer you a tax deductible receipt for your contribution if made through the Mountain Wildlife Conservation Society.

There has never been a better time to support the wild sheep of British Columbia.  Your charitable donation will make a significant difference for these herds and you will leave a legacy for future generations.

View the press release regarding the funding support from our friends at the Eastern Chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation HERE


How can I support these Bighorns?

Are you wanting to help our South Thompson Bighorns?  To find out how you can contribute, contact Kyle Stelter at for more details.