Radium Hot Springs loves its famous local residents, the Bighorn Sheep. Sadly, the last few years have seen the decrease in sheep population due to sheep-vehicle incidents. Once at 250, the herd’s numbers dropped to 120 in Fall 2021. Between late November and mid-January, 10 more sheep have been killed by vehicle impacts in and around Radium – the majority on the Radium hill south of the Village. A number of others were hit by vehicles but able to scramble away, leaving them injured or worse. One driver ended up in hospital.
Here is how visitors and locals can best help the local sheep herd in the Village:
1. Drive with Caution
The Bighorn Sheep are often seen on Highway 93/95 towards Invermere. While the sheep tend to be most active at dawn and dusk, they are often spotted near the Highway at all times of the day. Practice caution at any time while driving this scenic stretch of road!
If you see a Bighorn Sheep or a group of sheep near the Highway, slow down and give them plenty of space. If you see sheep on the Highway, turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers and wait until the sheep have moved out of the way before proceeding.
2. Respect Sheep Habitat
Radium Hot Springs is on the border of Kootenay National Park, which houses special conservation areas for the Bighorn Sheep. If you are walking around the town of Radium Hot Springs, or in Kootenay National Park, keep your pet on leash at all times, clean up any trash – even if it’s not yours! – and give Bighorn Sheep at least 30 meters of space.
3. Learn About the Sheep
Education is a powerful tool! Stop it at the Radium Visitor Centre to view the wildlife displays and learn more about the Bighorn Sheep herd in Radium.
4. View Sheep Respectfully
It is magical to see the Bighorn Sheep in the Village! Remember to give the sheep at least 30 meters of space when snapping a photo and take advantage of the zoom feature on your camera.
5. Support the “Save the Sheep” Movement in Radium Hot Springs
Founded by locals, the “Slow Your Roll… Save the Sheep” movement was founded to fundraise Bighorn Sheep. The group aims to raise funds to construct a wildlife overpass on Highway 93/95 to allow for the sheep to cross the road safely.
This cause can be supported by purchasing fundraising hoodies, t-shirts, and stickers or following the Help the Radium Bighorn Herd page to stay up-to-date.
Lead image by Shaunna McInnis