Bighorn Sheep: Work We Are Doing

desert bighorn sheep
USFWS
For a decade, The Wilderness Society has led efforts to provide bighorn sheep their own place in the forest, free from grazing domestic sheep that spread disease.

To save struggling bighorn sheep populations, we are working to keep wild sheep and domestic sheep separate in national forests across Idaho.

Congress is now fighting our efforts to save bighorn sheep and we are fighting back.   

We are fighting these attacks on our native wildlife in the halls of Congress and in the court of law.

Better management in the Payette

In 2003, when the Payette Forest failed to provide for the viability of bighorn sheep, we helped lead the charge to fix it. The chief of the Forest Service agreed with us and directed the Payette Forest to amend its plan to protect bighorn habitat. We also helped stop domestic sheep grazing in the areas that posed the greatest risk to bighorns.  

Saving Bighorns in Hells Canyon

We were instrumental in the closures of domestic sheep allotments on the Nez Perce National Forest. As a result, domestic sheep have not grazed in bighorn habitat in central Idaho’s Hells Canyon or the Salmon River Canyon for the first time in over 100 years.

New attacks by Congress

Congress ordered the Forest Service in Idaho to keep wild and domestic sheep in close contact. Their decision dismantles some of our earlier efforts and will lead to further population declines in native bighorn. We are fighting these attacks on our native wildlife in the halls of Congress and in the court of law.