The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is planning aerial bighorn sheep captures for late January to implement and fit radio collars. This is in response to several challenges affecting the bighorn sheep populations and conservation efforts.

The captures are part of the monitoring efforts regarding Umtanum/Selah Butte, Manson, and Sinlahekin herds and their populations.

Washington bighorn sheep herds have been experiencing pneumonia outbreaks caused by a pathogen resulting in die-offs of all ages. This has often resulted in additional lamb mortalities.

The radio collars being fitted will provide GPS data that will be used to analyze these outbreaks. The data will also be used to see how the herds use their land. Then the WDFW can use that information to maintain quality habitats.

The Manson herd and the Sinlahekin herd will receive ten collars. The Umtanum/Selah Butte herd will have five collars replaced.