More to Bighorn die-offs than disease presence
Very interesting article about Bighorn die-offs. Finally, one that admits there's more to the issue than mere exposure to pathogens.
Look-- They know what it is. Selenium. Its all a clown show with unelected Federal land barons creating problems so they have a reason to exist. Seems thats pretty much the way government works. If all-is-well, the department gets downsized so its in their interest to create drama.
I don't drink beer, but if I did, I'd prefer Dos Equis.  Stay thirsty my friends!
Well, I'm sure selenium is one of the issues, but it's not the whole picture. This article alludes to something that was discussed at the Rendy last year--that transplanted herds are unable to thrive in territory where they have no history.

From the article: "They all have the same physiological constraints, but you don’t see [migration] in restored populations. Many are nonmigratory,” Garrott said. “That might be why they are more susceptible to disease — they’re all standing around together. One gets sick, and they all die.”

He said it may take bighorns hundreds to thousands of generations to develop the collective knowledge necessary to learn how to use a landscape..."

We discussed this very issue at the Rendy last year. The necessary nutrients and minerals may be readily available, but if the bighorns don't know where to find them, they'll have a hard time thriving and will be more susceptible to disease. Providing them in the form of blocks can help, but then you have the problem where predators become attracted to those spots. Problems are further exacerbated when wildlife officials use hazing to try to keep herds isolated from domestics or other wild herds. They may think they are keeping the bighorns isolated from disease, but they are also keeping them from exploring to find the nutrients they need to stay healthy.

Another thing that Maggie has mentioned is the extreme stress caused by relocation (and by regular capturing and releasing of non-relocated herds) could adversely affect their immune systems down through multiple generations. I'm pretty sure if they tried leaving the poor animals alone it would do a lot to stabilize their future. The problem with researchers is they like to meddle too much when they might do better to sit back and observe at a distance.

I'll never forget how many lynx were killed back in the 1990's when wildlife officials were reintroducing them to the Lake City area. They couldn't just release them and wait 10-20 years to see if sightings of lynx and sign increased. Oh no. They had to collar them with heavy radio equipment, track them, recapture them, and test them. Government officials couldn't figure out why they kept dying while the rest of us wondered how even one of those poor animals ever survived. It's like these people don't even think--they're just programmed. Now they're chasing, capturing, and collaring bighorns in the Lake City area. They would do better to just talk to the local hunting guides. They can tell you how many animals there are, where they are located, how many ewes, rams, and lambs, and their habitual migration patterns. It would save a lot of money and not put the animals at risk. Researchers could start using game trail cameras if they don't want to get their boots dirty following herds around on foot. There is a lot to be learned from simple long-distance observation. Chasing, netting, and collaring an animal so you can get your hands on it isn't going to teach you anything about his ways.
The Dall sheep in Alaksa seem to be living healthy lives with MOVI. Not sure how much trap, transfer, and collaring go on up there. The sheep are tested after they are harvested by hunters. I have followed the Wild Sheep Foundation for 3 years and have never heard of trap and transfer in Alaska.

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)