Biologists with the Division of Wildlife Resources moved 16 bighorn sheep from the Moab area to San Juan County recently.
The animals were relocated to prevent them from coming in contact with domestic sheep and goats. Domestic sheep often carry respiratory illnesses that can be lethal to wild bighorns. When a domestic herd comes in contact with a wild herd, these illnesses are easily transmitted. Even if only one bighorn becomes ill, the disease can spread through the entire herd.
The small herd that was relocated had been close to domestic animals in Castle Valley.
The sheep were released in John's Canyon on the San Juan River. The canyon offers excellent bighorn habitat and a permanent water source.
Much of the funding for the move was provided by the Utah Foundation for North American Wild Sheep.