As home to the largest population of Stone Sheep (Ovis dalli stonei) in the world, the plateau of Todagin Mountain in British Columbia, Canada, is a special place. Today, however, these wonderful creatures could face extinction as the result of proposed resource developments that would destroy the only habitat the herd has ever known.
The Todagin herd’s survival hinges on the protection of their critical habitat–and protection starts with understanding which specific habitat is, indeed, critical. Global Wildlife Conservation partnered on a scientific study that identified the habitat in the plateau crucial to Stone Sheep’s survival. This was followed by a campaign to build public awareness and work with the BC government and stakeholders on a land-use planning solution that will protect the targeted habitat on Todagin Mountain.
In December 2010, a mining company was granted exploratory drilling permits for the entire southwestern plateau of Todagin Mountain—the sheep’s last refuge. The commencement of the drilling will mark the end of our opportunity to study Todagin’s Stone Sheep as they are undisturbed in their natural habitat.
Our team, which included National Geographic explorer-in-residence and best-selling author Wade Davis, and internationally acclaimed photographer Paul Colangelo, embarked on a year-long expedition to live with the Stone Sheep on Todagin Mountain to shed light on their plight and conduct the research needed for the sheep’s survival.
The major goal included ensuring the continued existence of the largest population of lambing Stone Sheep in the world. The team met this goal with the following objectives:
Define critical summer range
Conduct a scientific study to define the critical summer range for the Stone Sheep of Todagin Mountain.
Tell the story of the Stone sheep of Todagin Mountain
With text from Davis and images from Colangelo, produce an intriguing narrative that tells the story of the sheep and mountain.
Using the scientific report and photographic and written story, raise awareness of the issue among the general public, stakeholders, and decision makers. This will be accomplished through publications, presentations, exhibits and an online presence.
Work with the BC government toward a solution that will protect the entire critical range of Todagin’s Stone Sheep.
Stone Sheep (Ovis dalli stonei)
Todagin Moutain, British Columbia, Canada