Wyoming Bighorn Sheep versus Domestic Sheep and Struggles Over Grazing Rights on Federal Lands
An excellent and fascinating detailed case study of the conflict between ranchers and those interested in conserving big horn sheep is presented by Angus M. Thuermer in a Wyofile article. He gives a case study of sheep ranchers who have lost their dogs to grizzly attacks and have to coral their sheep herd every night. This family decided to sell their grazing rights on Federal lands to conservation groups such as the Wyoming Wild Sheep Foundation. As part of the deal, the family “waives its grazing rights.” The State of Wyoming and the Wyoming Stockgrowers Association generally opposes the loss of AUMs (Animal Unit Months) on grazing lands in Wyoming and thus don’t like such deals. Due to this, the Feds actually labeled the family’s AUMs as “vacant” rather than “closed.” The reason for the action are due to the threat of disease transmission from the domestic sheep to the wild bighorn. The article cites disease outbreaks among the wild bighorn in 2010 and 1991 that cut the population by 405 and a third respectively. The case also illustrates the role of science in policymaking. Offers to ranchers are based on a model that predicts the risk to wild sheep from domestic sheep. It contains a number of factors such as geography predicting likelihood of contacts between wild and domestic sheep. The rancher groups and the State are caught in a philosophical bind about the sales of AUMs to conservationists because, although they generally oppose the retirement of AUMs, they believe in the right of ranchers to sell thehttp://www.wyofile.com/stockmen-bighorns-butt-heads-western-showdown/
During my research for the book, I noticed that there was no blog available for sharing informaton on wildlife conservation and thus I set up this blog to accomplish this purpose. Please share any informaticoncerning issues related to wildife policy and politics. I welcome feedback from users concerning this blog and website.