A proposal was submitted to the Board of Game for their March 2016 Statewide meeting; proposal 90. This proposal would have removed domestic sheep and goats from the “clean list”, along with putting tight and expensive requirements on sheep and goat owners within 15 air miles of Dall sheep habitat.
At the March 2016 Statewide Board of Game meeting in Fairbanks, the board decided to postpone this proposal, urging both sides to try and come to an agreement, then bring it back up during the March 2018 meeting.
This Board of Game meeting has been moved up to November 2017.
There have been working group meetings off and on this past year with representatives of producers, agencies involved and WSF. One option that could dispel this issue is based off of a study recently conducted by the North American Pack Goat Association (NAPGA). Across western states use of packgoats is being prohibited in bighorn sheep habitat due to the same reason that brought up proposal 90 here in Alaska; potential of domestic sheep/goats carrying M. ovipneumoniae (Movi).
Alaska is already a low risk state for contact between domestic and wild sheep and goats; there are low numbers of domestic sheep and goats, we’re a “fence in” state, and we don’t currently have any grazing leases in dall sheep habitat. If a study is conducted in Alaska, and it shows low numbers of positive tests (as is expected), not only could it do away with prop 90, but also give the option of doing away with restricting access to public lands.
What would this study look like? Protocol for the study would be similar to the NAPgA study: information on that can be found here. There would be some adjustments to match Alaska’s needs, such as testing sheep as well as goats. There are still some questions that need answers to: how many animals in each area of the state would need to be tested. Dr. Gerlach is working with biometricians and others on setting the protocol for this study.
What we do know:
- This would be a voluntary program – as with any study, the more animals tested, the more conclusive results would be.
- It would be confidential – if test samples are taken through the University or a producer’s vet, everything except the final numbers will be confidential.
- Testing will not be paid for by the producer.
As more information becomes available, it will be distributed. Also, please send any questions, comments or suggestions to, [email protected].