Hillcrest Fish and Game Protective Association recently celebrated their annual trophy day, while highlighting achievements in wildlife conservation and research. Nicholas L.M. Allen photo.
Nicholas L. M. Allen
Feb 7, 2024
Ian Gazeley, a current PhD student at the University of Alberta studying bighorn sheep movement and disease risk spoke at the event.
The Hillcrest Fish and Game Protective Association recently celebrated their annual trophy day, while highlighting achievements in wildlife conservation and research.
The event lasted from noon to 4 p.m., with an admission of $2. There was also a toonie chili supper and from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and family bingo taking place from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
The event featured an intriguing presentation by Ian Gazeley, a current PhD student at the University of Alberta studying bighorn sheep movement and disease risk.
Gazeley, with over 20 years of experience, shared insights into his journey from a professional photographer to a dedicated wildlife enthusiast. Having volunteered on various projects, Gazeley’s involvement with a biologist in British Columbia marked the beginning of his wildlife conservation career. His initial work involved monitoring mountain goat populations, leading him to collaborate on a project focused on the reintroduction of Roosevelt elk to the mainland.
Transitioning back into academia, Gazeley pursued a PhD, focusing on the movement ecology of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. His research delves into the risks posed by respiratory diseases, particularly mycoplasma, emphasizing the impact on bighorn sheep populations in Alberta. Gazeley highlighted a recent outbreak in the Sheep River Region, raising concerns about the transmission of diseases from domestic sheep to their wild counterparts.
Gazeley’s extensive fieldwork involves collaring bighorn sheep to track their movements and behavior. His research aims to understand the foray behavior of rams during the summer, a critical period for disease transmission. The data collected from these collared rams will be utilized to improve habitat selection models, especially in the context of changing landscapes and potential risks.
One of the key points Ian emphasized was the significant expansion of the domestic sheep industry in the province, posing a potential threat due to the prevalence of respiratory disease in domestic sheep herds. The risk of disease transmission becomes more pronounced as bighorn sheep, known for their foray behavior, explore different areas.
Gazeley’s groundbreaking research aims to inform disease risk analysis models, offering crucial insights into regional and population-specific parameters. The goal is to devise effective conservation strategies that mitigate the risk of disease transmission between domestic and wild sheep populations.
The Hillcrest Fish and Game Protective Association also revealed a new logo, with the list of winners from the trophy day as follows: (List was to be emailed. Had not received it at time of writing). Full results in next week’s paper.