Cassiar Stone’s Sheep Habitat Selection Study
My research focuses on the seasonal habitat use of Stone’s sheep in the Cassiar Mountains of northern British Columbia, with particular focus on habitat use during the lambing season. Lambing habitat selection studies in North America have largely focused on bighorn sheep, and this is the first study of its kind on Stone’s sheep (Ovis dalli stonei), a subspecies of thinhorn sheep residing predominately in British Columbia. Recent increases in human activity, including mining, snowmobiling, ATV use and highway traffic could threaten lamb recruitment, creating a need for identifying critical lambing habitat.
In the winters of 2018 and 2019, we captured and equipped 18 pregnant females with GPS collars collecting relocation data. All pregnant females were also equipped with a vaginal implant transmitter (VIT) that notifies researchers of the timing and location of a lambing event. We are using the movement data collected from GPS collars and information from the VITs to identify lambing events, understand habitat use throughout different seasons, and to identify critical habitats for Stone’s sheep in the Cassiar Mountains.
This project is conducted on the territories of the Tahltan, Kaska, Gitxan and Dease River First Nations, and we are extremely grateful for the support, generosity, and partnership with these Nations. We would also like to thank our additional partners who have made this project possible, including the Wild Sheep Society of BC, Wild Sheep Foundation, Habitat Conservation Trust Fund, Northwest Guide Outfitter Association, Tahltan Guide Outfitters Association, Safari Club International – Northern Alberta Chapter, and the Province of BC.
2020 – R.E. Peter Conference First Place M.Sc. Oral Presentation
2019 – Canada Graduate Scholarship Master’s Program (NSERC)
2019 – Walter H. Johns Graduate Scholarship (University of Alberta)
2018 – Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship
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