Wild Sheep Health

Overall health of wild sheep, as with any animal, can be affected by many pressures as well as infectious disease.

Some factors that affect wild sheep health include:

  • Changes in habitat quality and quantity
  • Human disturbance
  • Industrial activities
  • Competition for food or space from other species, including grazing domestic animals or other wild animals
  • Low feed availability
  • Poor quality feed
  • Too many wild sheep on a small range
  • Predators (coyotes, wolves, cougars, bears, eagles)
  • Severe weather
  • Infectious diseases and parasites


The BC Sheep Separation Program

In 2008, the BC Sheep Separation Program (BCSSP) was formally initiated as a partnership to help protect and promote the health of wild sheep populations in British Columbia. Infectious pathogens carried by domestic sheep and goats can be transmitted to wild sheep to create fatal respiratory disease outbreaks. 

The BCSSP works collaboratively with a variety of stakeholder groups to reduce the risk of disease transmission from domestic sheep/goats to wild sheep.

It was formed as a collaboration of the Ministries of Environment, now Forests, Lands & Natural Resource Operations and Agriculture, the Wild Sheep Society of B.C., the BC Sheep Federation, other sheep producers and other stakeholder groups.

Read more about the B.C. Sheep Separation Program.