A bighorn ram in the Canal Flats area is moving easier after local conservation officers tracked down the animal and removed a length of barbed wire from its neck and horns.
Invermere conservation officer Greg Kruger says he and fellow officer Lawrence Umsonst were notified of a ram in distress this past Tuesday.
“The information we had was that it had a section of barbed wire fence that was wrapped around its horns and neck, so a concerned member of the public didn’t think the animal would survive much longer,” he says.
Officers located the ram a day later, and tranquilized it to remove the wire, which Kruger says had started to tighten around the animal’s neck like a noose.
“It was starting to rub through the hide into the neck, so we thought it would probably eventually die,” he says. “It would either get hung up or (the wire) would choke this ram out.”
While it’s not clear exactly how the ram managed to get tangled in the wire, Kruger says bighorn sheep in the area typically pass through many wire fences as they move between Mount Sabine and the area southeast of Canal Flats. Most likely, the animal was caught up while moving through one of the barriers.
Kruger says the incident shows the value of reporting concerns to the Conservation Officer Service.
“Wherever we can intervene and do our part to assist wildlife, we ask for public reporting,” he says. “If an animal is in distress or suffering and we’re able to help out and do what we need to do then public reporting is a great assistance to us.”
A day after the operation, Umsonst was able to track down the ram once more. It’s now back with its usual herd.
To report an animal in distress or other wildlife related issue, call the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.