Alliance winter speaker series tonight about bighorn sheep

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Jackson Hole’s bighorn sheep have it tough right now. You name it, sheep have had to battle it. And it doesn’t get any easier for them when some of us choose to poach the powder and invade bighorn habitat during winter closures.

Aly Courtemanch with Wyoming Game and Fish, and Sarah Dewey with Grand Teton National Park, will present tonight as part of the 2017 Alliance Winter Speaker Series. The presentation is called: “Life on the Edge: History, Status, and Conservation Concerns of Teton Range Bighorn Sheep.”

The Teton Range is home to a small population of bighorn sheep whose conservation status is of concern due to a declining population, isolation from neighboring herds, low genetic diversity, and loss of historical winter ranges. This presentation will explore the history, current status, and concerns surrounding the future of the herd. Courtemanch and Dewey will highlight the conservation measures taken to shore up the herd’s future and the challenges the herd still faces for long-term persistence.

The guest speakers will also discuss the findings of recent research on the impacts of backcountry skiing on the herd and the importance of the Alliance’s “Don’t Poach the Powder” campaign.

Don’t Poach the Powder informs backcountry recreationists of seasonal winter closure areas so we can avoid disturbing wildlife. Deep snow, extreme conditions, and cold temperatures combined with scarce food supplies and the dire need to conserve energy make it difficult for wildlife, especially large ungulates, to survive the long, cold, harsh winters of Jackson Hole. Disturbing and disrupting wildlife during this trying time, forces animals to expend precious energy, which can lead to stress and even death.

The 2017 Alliance Winter Speaker Series kicks off this evening at the Teton County Library at 6:00 p.m. today, Tuesday, November 7.

Light refreshments will be served, courtesy of Hole Food Rescue.

About the Speakers:

Aly Courtemanch is a Wildlife Biologist with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department in Jackson. Her work includes managing the many ungulate populations in and around Jackson Hole, including elk, moose, bison, mule deer, pronghorn, and bighorn sheep. She completed her undergraduate degree at St. Lawrence University in upstate New York and her Master’s degree at the University of Wyoming. Research for her Master’s degree focused on the Teton bighorn sheep herd.

Sarah Dewey is a Wildlife Biologist at Grand Teton National Park, where she has worked since 2003. Her research interests include predator-prey ecology and animal movements and spatial ecology, including migrations. Sarah’s work in Jackson Hole has included investigations of elk, moose, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, mesocarnivores, wildlife-vehicle collisions, and wolf pack dynamics and predation patterns. Sarah is a graduate of Colby College in Maine and Colorado State University where she earned an MS in Wildlife Biology.

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