Knocking yourself out for conservation

I went down to Keremeos Wednesday to take part in a California bighorn sheep transplant operation, moving some sheep from that herd to the Okanagan Mountain Park.

After a serious die-off of the Vaseux herd a number of years ago a plan was put in place by the wildlife branch of the B.C. Ministry of Environment to try and mitigate any future die-offs by expanding the California bighorn population to different areas in the Okanagan Valley.

Around 50 or more volunteers showed up for the trapping phase. An overhead drop net had been set up previously and the sheep had been baited into the area. When the net dropped the volunteers moved in to subdue the animals, blindfold and hobble them and get them loaded in to horse trailers.

Unfortunately I exited the scene immediately following the net drop. The area was a pretty much a skating rink and when I started towards the trap my feet shot out from under me and I went down flat out, cracking my head on a rock. An ambulance trip into the Keremeos clinic and 6 stitches and a tetanus shot later I was back in the game. However by that time the sheep were hogtied, ear tagged, blood sampled and on their way up the highway for transport across Okanagan Lake to their new home.

I did get to see the horse trailer full of sheep loaded on to the barge and saw it off on its’ trip across the lake and saw the sheep unloaded through the magic of TV on the local news.

Not exactly as I had envisaged the day, but as the old joke goes: Good thing I landed on my head or I could have hurt myself.

Much thanks to the first aid people on duty at the drop site and to the BC Ambulance Service guys who did a great job.

The photos show my particpation. Orientation and seeing the sheep off across Okanagan Lake. In between was all the activity, excitement and fun.





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