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South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks by John Kanta - Regional Wildlife Manager

South Dakota Bighorn Sheep Management and Research Update The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (SDGFP) would like to thank the Wild Sheep Foundation – Midwest Chapter (WSFM) for the generous donation to our upcoming bighorn sheep research project. We will be providing periodic updates to your group as the project gets under way.

Cause Specific Mortality for Lambs 2010 - 2011 Abandoned 4% MIA 2%

Infection 2% CE 2%

Hypothermia 4% Stillborn 4% Starved 8%

Predation 28%

Currently the bighorn sheep population in SD remains stable at approximately 350 total sheep. We have four distinct herds that consist of the Badlands, Custer State Park, Elk Mountain and the main Black Hills herds. We issued 2 licenses valid for the Black Hills herd Pneumonia 46% and 1 license valid for the Elk Mountain herd. As the elk Mountain herd is a shared herd with Wyoming, the Wyoming Game and Fish (WYGF) also issue one permit valid for the Elk Mountain herd. Season dates As mentioned previously, we will be conducting a study on the Elk Mountain herd in cooperation with SDSU run from September 1 – December 31, 2011. and the WYGF. This project was partially funded In cooperation with South Dakota State University by the WSF-Midwest. The project is slated to begin (SDSU), we are currently conducting a study on the on July 1, 2012 but work is currently being done to Black Hills bighorn sheep herd. This project started in explore the possibility of deploying collars this winter 2009 and is investigating prey selection by mountain to get additional data. The plan is to collar 30 adult lions and cause specific mortality on bighorn sheep. bighorn sheep and monitor to estimate population size, Currently we have 36 yearling and adult ewes and 2 assess movements, determine survival and recruitment lamb bighorn sheep radio collared. To date we have rates, evaluate genetic diversity, and assess disease radio collared a total of 52 yearling and adult ewes and prevalence in the herd. This is a masters project and a 53 lambs. Preliminary data shows an adult survival rate student has been selected to conduct the study. We look of approximately 77%. Unfortunately, lamb survival is forward to providing you data as it becomes available. very low. We lost 100% of the collared lambs in 2010 and as mentioned above, only 2 lambs remain from the 28 collared in the spring of 2011. Pneumonia is the major mortality factor for lambs with lion predation as the second largest cause of mortality for this herd (see chart).

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Fall/Winter2011 Newsletter  
Fall/Winter2011 Newsletter  

Our Fall/Winter of 2011 issue.

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