Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) is stepping up its game to track bighorn sheep.
NGPC staff and volunteers caught 51 sheep in the Panhandle over a two day period.
“Forty, minimum, is what we needed, so anything above that was a bonus,” Todd Nordeen, NGPC big game research and disease program manager, tells Nebraska Radio Network.
He says they were fitted with new GPS collars, which also transmit a VHF signal for nearby tracking.
“The GPS gives us some feedback about once every hour, so that’s collecting data and we can see that on the website when those transmissions come in,” Nordeen explains.
The goal is to fight off disease that’s been killing lambs the past two years.
“We’re also looking at catching the lambs coming up in the spring and testing some treatment options to try to deal with this disease that keeps getting spread around,” Nordeen says.
“We haven’t decided exactly what treatment regimes we’re going to give, but based on some of the research that’s going on, we’ll be deciding that shortly,” he says. “It will involve antibiotic treatments at a very early age. Probably with these lambs, it’ll be 24 to 48 hours of age.”
The problem is serious in the Pine Ridge area in the northwest corner of the state, but the focus includes bighorn sheep in the Wildcat Hills region in the southwest Panhandle.
AUDIO: Mike Loizzo reports [:40]