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Lawsuit ends domestic grazing in eastern Idaho

Domestic sheep graving

Photo credit: Dreamstime

Domestic sheep grazing is over in eastern Idaho. The decision was announced this week after the U.S. Forest Service settled a lawsuit filed by Wildearth Guardians and Western Watersheds Project several years ago. The lawsuit alleged that the issuance of domestic sheep grazing permits for the same areas where wild bighorn sheep roam was a direct violation of the Forest Service’s mission “to maintain and protect native species,” Boise State Public Radio reports. The permits, which were issued to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois, Idaho, gave the agency permission to graze 2,000 domestic sheep in forests that spanned the southern edge of the Beaverhead mountains and that were prime bighorn sheep territory.

As goHUNT has previously reported, several bighorn sheep were recently euthanized after coming into contact with domestic sheep within this region in an effort to keep bacterial pneumonia away from wild herds. Pneumonia has caused massive die-offs in bighorn sheep across the West and has been linked to domestic sheep and goats. With 36 bighorn sheep living within the grazing allotments, the lawsuit aimed to keep the herd healthy by stopping domestic grazing allowed by the Forest Service.

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After a judge granted a preliminary injunction on grazing permits in November, the Forest Service decided to settle the lawsuit outside of the court and agreed to stop domestic sheep grazing “until a scientific study of disease risks is completed,” according to Boise State Public Radio.

Laurie Rule, an attorney for the environmental groups, said the settlement was “a significant step forward for bighorn sheep.”

4 Comments

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Lisa B. - posted 1 week ago on 07-08-2018 04:35:41 pm

Someone needs to research the release of Big Horn Sheep in the Hell's Canyon. Same deal, they made all the ranchers remove sheep.
Then they released Big Horn Sheep.
Pretty sure they all died.
Sick and dying ewes were standing along the roads. Not sure who they blamed, the domestic sheep were all gone. Western Warersheds is the devil.

Brady Miller
Brady M. - posted 1 week ago on 07-08-2018 08:26:04 am
Las Vegas, NV
goHUNT Team

Hi Dan. It was near Dubois in the Beaverhead Mountains of Idaho.

Drakeventures
Dan D. - posted 1 week ago on 07-07-2018 10:26:44 pm
RIGBY, ID
goHUNT INSIDER

Where does the closure take place exactly?

Isaac R. - posted 1 week ago on 07-07-2018 06:25:41 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

Great news for the big horn sheep population!