High in the wild Centennial Mountains on the Idaho-Montana
border, the US Department of Agriculture operates a research and grazing
station for domestic sheep. The Sheep Experiment Station is in the heart of a
critical corridor between Yellowstone National Park and the mountainous wilds
of central Idaho used by grizzlies and wolves.
Wolves and grizzlies have been killed over conflicts with the station’s
domestic sheep, which are a huge attractant for these carnivores.
Other wildlife is affected as well. The amount of food
available to bighorn sheep, deer, elk and pronghorn is reduced each year by the
11 million pounds of forage domestic sheep eat. Native bighorn sheep are also
at great risk of harm or death because domestic sheep transmit diseases.
Livestock fences interfere with the movement of sage grouse and pronghorn. Even
bird and small mammal populations are reduced due to the loss of cover
resulting from sheep stripping away vegetation.
Secretary Vilsack made a wise decision in June
to close this outdated (established in 1915) and expensive (it costs taxpayers
more than $1.5 million per year) sheep grazing facility, but the Idaho congressional delegation is working to stop the closure. Tell him you appreciate that his decision will be a great benefit for
Idaho and Greater Yellowstone wildlife such as grizzly bears, bighorn sheep,
wolves, wolverine, lynx and other species that rely on the Centennial Range
along the Idaho-Montana border for migration and dispersal.
Dear Secretary Vilsack, [Decision Maker],
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]