Zion National Park requests comments on bighorn sheep

©Graeme Maclean

Zion National Park and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources have opened a public review and comment period for the environmental assessment (EA) on the proposed relocation of desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) from inside the park’s boundaries to support other parts of Utah’s population. The objective of the proposal is to “protect the established Zion bighorn sheep population to reduce the risk of disease transmission and support the statewide population.”

According to the proposal, active management is needed to reduce the risk of disease transmission and massive die-offs of the bighorn sheep population. Disease transmission may occur when bighorn sheep come in contact with domestic sheep or goats. Population numbers and density are commonly managed through hunting or relocation — hunting is not allowed in the park. The EA evaluates two alternatives: no-action and one action alternative. The action alternative involves transplanting sheep from inside the park to supplement existing small herds or start new populations outside of Zion.

The public review and comment period ends on Sept. 25, 2017.

Read more at Lake Powell News. 

Read TWS and American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians’ Joint Statement on Domestic Sheep and Goats Disease Transmission Risk to Wild Sheep.

Read TWS’ Fact Sheet on the Effects of Disease on Bighorn Sheep Management.