"It's critical and valuable to have both domestic sheep and wild sheep coexist on public land." These words, delivered by Margaret Soulen Hinson, the American Sheep Industry Association president, was the underlying message of the recent Bighorn Meeting, held June 13-14 in Denver, Colo. The meeting drew more than 80 representatives from 16 states and two countries from the domestic sheep industry, wild sheep advocacy groups and representatives of state and federal government agencies to discuss and collaborate on strategies to allow bighorn sheep and domestic sheep to coexist on public lands with the least affect on one another.
Presentations on the potential diseases that cause bighorn die offs, the possible transmission of those diseases and the latest research on the topic including successful vaccines were offered. In addition, state and federal government agency representatives were on hand to discuss regulations they operate under, their role in bighorn and habitat management, the mapping of bighorn populations and the policies around allotment use.
"The meeting was very positive, and we had fantastic participation from everyone, but especially the federal and state offices. Some key principles were agreed upon, and it is clear that both domestic sheep and wild sheep are valuable to the landscape. We agreed that we should collaborate on research, which we have made great strides with, and hopefully the cooperation we had here can help buy the domestic sheep industry some time," Soulen Hinson said.
A complete report of the meeting will be published in the July issue of the Sheep Industry News. Presentations from the meeting are available at www.sheepusa.org by clicking on the Resources tab and then on the Presentations tab.