Bighorn sheep are a symbolic species of the rugged mountains and canyons of the American West. They were once among the most numerous of wildlife species in Idaho, but that’s no longer the case.
As the correct course of action is debated, bighorn sheep populations continue to decline.
Damaged by Disease
Within the past few decades, bighorn sheep populations in the western U.S. have plummeted. Like early Native Americans who died from smallpox and measles after contact with Europeans, bighorns become ill and die from disease carried by non-native domestic sheep.
The Need for Proper Management
Wildlife managers across the West agree that the single biggest threat to bighorn sheep is their contact with domestic sheep grazing on wild lands. But as the correct course of action is debated, bighorn sheep populations continue to decline.