Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Press Release
Forty-nine bighorn sheep have a new home in southern Utah.
Using a helicopter, capture specialists caught the sheep near Lake Mead, Nev. The sheep were then driven to Bullfrog, Utah in trailers. As soon as the sheep were certified “disease free,” they were again flown by helicopter to an area east of Bullfrog.
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources bighorn sheep biologist Dustin Schaible, said the area where the sheep were released is very remote. “Normally, we keep the sheep in horse trailers,” he explained., “Then we drive them to the release site and open the door.”
The area where the 49 sheep were released does not have any roads, but it is perfect sheep habitat. “With the assistance of the Utah Highway Patrol and its helicopter, we were able to fly the sheep into the remote area.,” Schaible stated.
Before the sheep were lifted into the air, they were placed in specially designed metal boxes that were attached to a cable hanging from the helicopter. A pilot with the Utah Department of Public Safety then flew the sheep about 15 miles into the red-rock canyons that surround Lake Powell.
“The boxes are designed to hold about three sheep each,” Schaible explained. “As soon as we opened the door, the sheep took off and ran into the canyons to find a new home.”
Biologists released the sheep in an area known as the Kaiparowits bighorn sheep management unit. The 49 additional sheep will add to the herd’s genetic mix.
The transplant project was funded through dollars generated from the sale of bighorn sheep hunting permits.