Fish and Wildlife Prohibit Contact Between Bighorn Sheep and Domestic Sheep in State Wildlife Areas
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is prohibiting visitors from bringing domestic sheep and goats to WDFW-owned land, in order to protect bighorn sheep populations.
Historically, domestic sheep and goats have acted as carriers for the Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae (Movi) bacteria, which would not affect them personally, but proved to be dangerous for bighorn sheep.
Pneumonia caused by the Movi bacteria could be lethal for bighorn sheep populations, and there is currently no treatment or vaccine available as a preventative measure.
WDFW approved this ruling back in December of 2022, after a months-long public feedback process, and will go into effect in February of 2023.
This rule would affect WDFW-owned areas within Asotin Creek, Chelan, Chief Joseph, Colockum, Columbia Basin, L.T. Murray, Oak Creek, Scotch Creek, Sinlahekin, Wells, Wenas, and W.T. Wooten wildlife areas.