HomeInitiativesWild Sheep Working Group Initiative

Wild Sheep Working Group Initiative

“We are committed to the restoration and conservation of bighorn and thinhorn sheep for the benefit of future generations”

Formed in January 2007, the Wild Sheep Working Group (WSWG) was tasked with developing a comprehensive, west-wide assessment of all facets of wild sheep management in the western U.S. and Canada. The initial assignment was to develop WAFWA recommendations for management of domestic sheep and goats in wild sheep habitat.

“To identify priority topics and management challenges to wild sheep in western North America; collaboratively develop solutions to those challenges; and foster strong relationships between state/ provincial/territorial jurisdictions, federal land management agencies, indigenous groups, and wild sheep advocates; and engage with domestic livestock owners and users that share the same landscapes inhabited by wild sheep.

Mission Statement, Revised January 2020


Wild Sheep Foundation: Wild & Wool Trailer

Wild Sheep Foundation in partnership with SITKA Gear Director: Philip Baribeau Producer: Frankie Pirolo Foss

Bighorn sheep, an icon of the American West, battle to survive as contact with infectious diseases carried by domestic sheep threaten these wild herds. The respiratory pathogen mycoplasma ovipneumoniae (M.ovi), while benign in their domestic sheep hosts, can present deadly complications for bighorn sheep and often leads to widespread pneumonia outbreaks and significant die-offs. Domestic sheep grazing on public land was an integral part of settling the western United States. However, as conservation efforts ramp to rebound bighorn populations, the wool industry, scientific community, and wildlife advocates are at a crossroads. Wild & Wool documents a year-long look at a dedicated research team racing to understand the complexities and challenges of M.ovi before the next outbreak devastates this iconic species.

Wild & Wool will be available at www.wildsheepfoundation.org for free viewing later this fall after the festival season.


The Wildlife Society: Horse Rich & Dirt Poor

Cinematography by Phillip Baribeau.  Co-Directed by Charles Post and Ben Masters.

Support a healthy ecological balance on your public lands!
Explore the effects of America’s overpopulated wild horses and burros on wildlife, public lands, and ecosystems as you travel through Nevada with wildlife ecologist Charles Post. 

Charles spends time in the field with wildlife biologists and researchers to examine meadows destroyed as a result of too many horses, and contrasts those with areas where a diversity of native plants and wildlife thrive. He also examines how overgrazing caused by excess horses impacts the sagebrush ecosystem and riparian areas, effecting the habitats of greater sage-grouse and Lahontan cutthroat trout. Post also visits a holding facility for horses gathered and removed from the range by the Bureau of Land Management and speaks with a former Chief of BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro program about the value of public lands, the challenges of wild horse and burro management, and the risks of continuing to let horse and burro populations grow.

Read more at wildlife.org

Featured Publications

Recommendations for Domestic Sheep and Goat Management in Wild Sheep Habitat

Recommendations for Domestic Sheep and Goat Management in Wild Sheep Habitat
7 views / 9 downloads
    pdf, 6.99 MB
    July 1, 2012
Publication Details

Although the risk of disease transmission from domestic sheep or goats to wild sheep is widely recognized, a unified set of management recommendations for minimizing this risk has not been adopted by responsible agencies. These Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) recommendations were produced to help state, provincial, and territorial wild sheep managers, federal/crown land management agencies, private landowners and others take appropriate steps to eliminate range overlap, and thereby, reduce opportunities for transmission of pathogens to wild sheep.

Collaborator or Contributing Publications


Business & Meetings

The WSWG is comprised of a representative from each WAFWA state, province, and territory (N=20) with wild sheep, plus representatives from the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and the Wild Sheep Foundation. The WSWG meets twice/year, in conjunction with the WAFWA summer meeting and the Wild Sheep Foundation (WSF) annual winter convention.


NWSGC Symposium

November 2, 2020 
Save the Date! The Alberta organizing committee welcomes you to attend.
BSC Logo

Desert Bighorn Council Workshop

April 6, 2021 
Save the Date! The 56th meeting of the Desert Bighorn Council will be hosted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Members List

Mike Cox, WSWG Chair
WAFWA / Nevada Department of Wildlife
Tony Wasley, Director Sponsor
Nevada Department of Wildlife
Darren Bruning, Member
Alaska Department of Fish & Game
Anne Hubbs, Member
Alberta Fish & Wildlife Division
Amber Munig, Member
Arizona Game & Fish Department
Helen Schwantje, Member
British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands & Nat. Res. Op
Bill Jex, Member
British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands & Nat. Res. Op
Tom Stephenson, Member
California Department of Fish & Wildlife
Scott Gardner, Member
California Department of Fish & Wildlife
Andy Holland, Member
Colorado Parks & Wildlife
Hollie Miyasaki, Member
Idaho Department of Fish & Game
VACANT, Member
Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, & Parks
Todd Nordeen, Member
Nebraska Game & Parks Commission
Eric Rominger, Member
New Mexico Department of Game & Fish
Brett Wiedmann, Member
North Dakota Game & Fish Department
Heather Sayine-Crawford, Member
Northwest Territories Environment and Natural Resources
Don Whittaker, Member
Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife
Collin Gillin, Member
Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife
Chad Lehman, Member
South Dakota Department Game, Fish, & Parks
Froylan Hernandez, Member
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
VACANT, Member
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
William Moore, Member
Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife
Doug McWhirter, Member
Wyoming Game & Fish Department
Daryl Lutz, Member
Wyoming Game & Fish Department
Brian Logan, Member
U.S. Forest Service
John Shivik, Member
U.S. Forest Service
Frank Quamen, Member
Bureau of Land Management
Jenny Powers, Member
National Park Service
Nathan Galloway, Member
National Park Service
Clay Brewer, Member
Wild Sheep Foundation
Kevin Hurley, Member
Wild Sheep Foundation
VACANT, Member
Yukon Department of Environment