Boyce Lab

Grace Enns, MSC

Cassiar Stone’s Sheep Habitat Selection Study

Stone’s Sheep (Ovis dalli stonei) are a subspecies of thinhorn sheep residing entirely in the province of British Columbia and are highly valued by resident and non-resident hunters, First Nations, Guides and Outfitters and British Columbians for their cultural, economic and ecological importance. A small herd of Stone’s Sheep, estimated by regional wildlife managers to have an approximate population size of 250 in 2005, resides in the Cassiar Mountains in northern British Columbia.  Anecdotal reports have indicated that the Cassiar herd’s population is in decline, however little scientific research has been conducted to investigate the Cassiar Stone’s Sheep health, demography, habitat ranges, and seasonal movements.

This project began in February 2018 and seeks to document the Cassiar Stone’s Sheep herd’s seasonal ranges, critical habitats (natal ranges, mineral licks), and movement patterns using GPS radiocollars and vaginal implant transmitters (VITs). Identifying habitats of importance is necessary to determine which habitats might be at greatest risk from anthropogenic disturbances.

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