Projects

Skaha Lake Purchase
Funds Contributed: $20,000
Total Project Cost: $1.3 Million

The WSSBC contributed funds to support the purchase of an 87.5 acre parcel of undeveloped land on the east side of Skaha Lake, near Penticton. This property will be set aside, protected from development and maintained as a grassland ecosystem in perpetuity and is located adjacent to the McTaggart-Cowan Wildlife Management Area, effectively expanding protected bighorn sheep habitat. The parcel consists of open grassland with ponderosa pine and Douglas fir stands with ample steep escape terrain. The parcel will be managed as bighorn sheep habitat by improving connectivity and sheep movement within the adjacent protected areas.


Tuchodi River Prescribed Burn

Funds Contributed: $25,450
Total Project Cost: $35,000

The Wild Sheep Society of BC contributed $25,450 in funding towards a prescribed burn along the Tuchodi River, in Northern BC. Funds acquired for this project were the result of the inaugural Northern Fundraiser held in February 2017 in Dawson Creek, BC. The Tuchodi River valley has a long history of prescribed fires; however, burns have not been conducted in the valley since 2007, and sheep-specific burns have not been done since the late 1980s. The lack of burns has resulted in poor winter range quantity and quality for Stone’s sheep. Approximately 2,000 hectares of sheep habitat has been enhanced along the Tuchodi River through this prescribed burn. The burns were conducted in late May of 2017 via helicopter ignition at 11 locations.

 

Spences Bridge Sheep Counts
Every year in early April volunteers gather in Spences Bridge to conduct a ground based survey of bighorn sheep habitat. 13 survey zones are observed by volunteers to scout for bighorn sheep and record their findings. This data is used for long term population trends and overall population health. Typically, over 200 bighorn sheep are observed during the one-day survey. The information volunteers collect is valuable for determining lamb recruitment, an important metric in determining the health of a population. Sex and age-class ratios are also important for understanding long term population trends. Thanks to the support of volunteers this information can be collected and used by Regional Biologists to inform management decisions. The Spences Bridge Sheep Count occurs in early April of each year, ensure your membership is up to date so you don’t miss out.


Psoroptes Treatment Trials

Dr. Adam Hering is leading the Psoroptes Treatment Trails in Penticton, BC with collaboration with the local Penticton Indian Band. Capturing and handling the bighorn sheep has given an opportunity for many students and research supporters to get hands-on opportunities to handle wild sheep and contribute to the experiment. This research could not have been accomplished without the help of numerous volunteers and hundreds of volunteer hours. The preliminary findings suggest that a single treatment has not been effective in clearing the bighorn sheep of their psoroptes infections. However, it appears that the treatment has likely resulted in reducing the severity and symptoms associated with infection. Valuable information is being collected from the lambs on how early they can become infected with this parasite. Mites have already been found in the ears of two of the lambs even though none of them are showing clinical signs of infection. A subset of the lambs has been treated to see if it can be effective in treating early infections and protecting lambs from infection. At this point other drugs that may be useful in treating this disease are being actively pursued and discussed.

 

One of the main functions of the WSSBC is to provide funding, manpower and leadership for a variety of projects and initiatives geared towards enhancing wild sheep populations in BC. Often these are completed working closely with our partners in conservation. Click on the links below for completed projects.

Partners List:
1) BC Wildlife Federation
2) HCTFpdf
3) GOABC-NWGOA & Skeena Guides
4) Wild Sheep Foundation
5) Yukon Environment
6) University of Alberta

Completed Projects and Funding:
Click the links below for the documents. Adobe PDF format.

Landscape Genetics Project Thinhorn Sheep Summit
Bighorns at the Junction Documentary Film