Campaign launched to save South Okanagan bighorn sheep fighting their own pandemic | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Campaign launched to save South Okanagan bighorn sheep fighting their own pandemic

This Bighorn lamb was recently put down due to its having contracted the deadly Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Bighorn Sheep Society of B.C.
August 17, 2020 - 1:40 PM

The Wild Sheep Society of B.C. is calling for residents to take action to help stave off a deadly disease that is killing the province’s bighorn sheep in a pandemic affecting that species.

The society is launching its “Save Our Sheep” campaign to encourage residents to lobby their elected officials and demand action.

A disease known as Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae has been destroying herds of bighorn sheep for decades without effective legislation being introduced to combat the disease, the society said in a press release issued today, Aug. 17.

The disease was recently found in bighorn lambs in the South Okanagan’s Vaseux Lake herd.

“It’s time to take some serious action on this pandemic. The same way government has enacted strict measures for the citizens of British Columbia for COVID-19, we need to do the same thing for our wild sheep, Past President of the Wild Sheep Society of British Columbia Kyle Stelter says. “Wild sheep are very social animals. These family units watch each other slowly choke to death, and it’s beyond sad, and incredibly frustrating."

The SOS campaign is asking residents to contact their local MLA and request a meeting regarding the disease, and to send a letter to your local MLA, the Minister of Agriculture and the Premier.

Research shows the most effective way to keep the disease from spreading is to keep wild sheep separated from domestic sheep and goats.

The society says only drastic and immediate action by government and stakeholders can avert the decline of the province’s bighorn sheep herds.

More information on the Save Our Sheep campaign can be found here.

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