Featured Post

Pack Llamas: the Ultimate Backcountry Companions

  Go further, stay longer and hike harder with your 300 pound (llama) hiking partner?   CNN Article on llama packing. Llamas h...

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Study looks at why Montana's bighorn sheep are still plagued by die-offs

Montana study examines bighorn sheep die-offs and challenges some long-held theories about bighorn sheep management and exposure to pathogens.


 "Garrott — along with several MSU colleagues and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks research biologist Kelly Proffitt — has been attempting to answer that question, along with others including nutrition and habitat, with a 10-year study of bighorn sheep in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem as well as a six-year study of eight herds spread across Montana. The scientists’ theories are challenging what have been some long-held beliefs about bighorn sheep management.
Chief among them is that bighorn sheep are carriers of pathogens that, when conditions are right, can lead to significant herd die-offs from respiratory disease. The pathogens are believed to have been originally transmitted to bighorns by interactions between domestic sheep and goats. Bighorns had no immune defense against the pathogens, resulting in sharp population declines.
If the wild sheep have been exposed to the pathogens since the late 1800s, though, why have they still not developed a stronger immune response? Garrott said he thinks it’s similar to the flu bug that humans fight on an annual basis. The flu bacteria is constantly changing, frustrating health officials as they try and develop vaccines to annually protect humans.
According to their sampling efforts, Garrott said about 80 percent of bighorn sheep are carriers of the pathogens, but unless the animals are stressed or suffer from poor nutrition, it’s not a problem.
“The protocol right now is we can eliminate die-offs if we keep them separate from domestic sheep,” Garrott said. “That’s created a lot of political pressure to get domestic sheep off of public lands.”
But he said the bighorns have the ability to die all on their own, without commingling.
“Perhaps we shouldn’t be pointing an ugly finger at domestic producers,” he said." 

Friday, March 30, 2018

Pack Animals Denied on BLM Lands in the Eastern Interior RMP (by Phil Nuechterlein)

Published in Alaska Outdoor Council (AOC) 2018 Spring Newsletter (Click on link below and go to page 6 for article.)
Pack Animals Denied on BLM Lands in the Eastern Interior RMP
Related links:

Dr. Gregg P. Adams DVM, MS, PhD professor at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan stated it succinctly, “Camelids are not new nor exotic to North America - they originated in North America. The diseases listed as a risk posed by llamas are no different than a list that could be made up for any species entering the back country, not least, humans. For example, every mammalian species harbours mycoplasma. Contagious ecthema, chlamydiosis and MAP in camelids are rare - far less than in humans. In any risk assessment, the objective is to determine the probability of an event happening and the consequences of such an event. There is no such thing as zero risk, and a zero-risk policy is not a legitimate argument to “strongly support a precautionary approach”, if for no other reason than this approach is not being applied to all equally.”

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Response to Llama Ban on Public Lands

The website below has been developed in response to the ban on llamas on public lands in Alaska. As is stated on the site  "This commentary is a response by the North American llama (alpaca) community for the benefit of the many private outdoorsmen, recreationalists, and businesses who hunt, fish, camp, and work on North American public lands and who will be impacted by any implementation of the recommendations made in the assessment and advocated by the Wild Sheep Foundation, and implemented by the AK-BLM-EIRMP."

For the complete commentary and response go to


Friday, December 22, 2017

Pack It In, Pack It Out: Lessons From Backpacking With Llamas

Pack animals make wilderness glamping possible<p>The folding table turned out to be a bridge too far. Each of the llamas was supposed to be able to …
First posted on http://www.sierraclub.org