“The RMBS exists to promote the science-based management of the bighorn sheep, educate the public about their life and habitat, and assure the sportsman’s rights in proper opportunities.”
The RMBS continues to play an important role in the future of Colorado’s Bighorn sheep through various activities in support of our mission statement. It is important that the RMBS membership is aware of these actions, not only to be informed conservators of Colorado’s state animal, but also as a conduit for sharing the challenges and successes for its survival.
From its inception in 1975, the RMBS has provided assistance to Colorado’s Division of Wildlife and recently, Parks and Wildlife, through funding and managerial input in support of studies, habitat improvement and increasing opportunities for bighorn sheep hunter’s. With the primary goal of increasing and enhancing bighorn sheep herds in Colorado, it has become clearly evident to the RMBS that the number one risk to this goal is the transmission of respiratory disease from domestic sheep to bighorn sheep in the wild. This risk is foremost when domestic sheep share the same range as bighorns during the summer grazing period in the high country.
Specifically, Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae, plays a primary role in the cause and spread of pneumonia in bighorn sheep. A statistically fatal disease to wild sheep.
In response, the RMBS has funded projects ranging from area separation fences to transplanting bighorns, in order to help provide solutions to this problem. Other agencies have examined the possibility of developing vaccines to combat the disease. These efforts have all fallen short and bighorn populations continue to fluctuate in response.
Sometimes, however, the best solution is the most straight forward one. Working with the National Wildlife Federation, the RMBS along with other contributors provided funding to help secure the retirement of two domestic sheep grazing allotments on the Rio Grande National Forest in a critical bighorn sheep range.
This represents an initial step in a solid strategy to eliminate the risk of disease transmission between domestic sheep and wild sheep. Your support of Colorado’s bighorn sheep through your membership in the RMBS helps make this progress possible.
Thank you, RMBS Board of Directors