The one ungulate from Alaska that is not represented in our collection at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC) is the Dall Sheep or Dall’s sheep. As a rescue center, we only take in animals that were orphaned or in need of medical care, and to date we have not received a request from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game to provide care for an orphaned or physically compromised Dall sheep. We do receive several requests a year from zoos inquiring about the availability of these mountain ungulates. One day we may exhibit them and or serve as a holding facility for zoo-destined animals.
One can see flocks of Dall sheep along the rugged, mountainous terrain while driving from Anchorage south to the tip of the Kenai Peninsula. Unfortunately, I think the enthusiasm of wildlife spectators looking for sheep descending a steep and rugged landscape to graze on the side of the road, is the cause of numerous automobile accidents. The sheep draw much attention, especially a full-curl ram, and often distract drivers.
The Dall’s sheep is not particularly threatened; it is currently designated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as a species of Least Concern. The game animal is found widely throughout its current range and exists in large protected areas, particularly in Alaska. In fact, Dall’s sheep occur in eight federally protected areas in the state. Outside of Alaska the Dall’s sheep is found only in Canada (i.e., British Columbia, Yukon, and Northwest Territories).
Below are some photos of Dall’s sheep by Doug Lindstrand, an acclaimed wildlife photographer, author and illustrator, and the AWCC’s own staff photographer.