World-ranked bighorn ram now on display

Elk Valley visitors can now get a close-up of a Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep ram that lived at Teck’s Greenhills Operations

  • Nov. 15, 2012 2:00 p.m.
The bighorn sheep ram from Greenhills

The bighorn sheep ram from Greenhills

Elk Valley visitors can now get a close-up view of a Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep ram that lived for almost 12 years at Teck’s Greenhills Operations, growing horns that are ranked jointly the sixth largest in B.C. and the 33rd largest in the world.

Fernie Chamber of Commerce has the mounted ram head on display at its nature centre on Highway 3, which presents the history and resources of the Elk Valley to visitors and local school groups.

The ram was well known to workers and visitors at Greenhills Operations in Elkford because of its size.

In March 2011, several reports were received by the conservation service that the ram was dead on the property. When local conservation officers investigated they found the sheep was still alive, but severely emaciated and underweight by 75 pounds or more. After consulting with regional wildlife biologists it was clear that the ram was starving to death and should be euthanized to prevent further suffering.

The ram was necropsied by provincial veterinarian Helen Schwantje, to find out what contributed to the degrading health of the sheep and to check it for disease or infections that could compromise the health of other animals.

Sadly the sheep was starving due to its teeth. No disease or infections were found, but the ram was missing a molar on one jaw. Due to continuing growth of teeth throughout their lifetimes, most animals require the grinding action of chewing food to ensure their teeth wear evenly. In the case of this ram, a tooth from the corresponding jaw grew into the gap left by the missing tooth and he was unable to grind his food properly.

Due to deep snowfall over the winter, the ram was not obtaining enough nutrition and was starving to death. His muscle mass had deteriorated so much that bone marrow was being utilized to survive. The effort required to carry the 45 pounds of horns on his head, was essentially draining his strength and body resources.

Under the Boone and Crocket scoring system which measures the size of horns, the ram scored 199 and 5/8 inches. This ranks it number 33 in the world and tied for sixth largest in B.C. Its horns were 43 inches in length and weighed 45 pounds.

Chamber of Commerce Manager Sarah Parry said: “This monarch of the mountains is a good representation of the bighorn sheep in the Elk Valley and a cooperative effort was made to ensure he could be displayed locally.

“The provincial Wildlife Branch permitted the sheep to be displayed at the Nature Centre and because the sheep lived on the Greenhills site and was well known to many employees and visitors to the mine, Teck paid to have the sheep mounted by Dan Van Zanten of Glacier Mountain Taxidermy in Cranbrook.”

The ram is on display at Fernie Chamber of Commerce, 102 Highway 3, Fernie. For opening hours and more information call 250-423-6868.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
MY COVID STORY: From doctor to patient

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

(From left to right) Twin Meadows Animal Rescue co-directors Puneet Grewal and Nycki Wannamaker with Stick & Stone manager Meaghan Collins, and Stick & Stone owner SJ Nelson. Pictured here with Blue, Hombre, Daphne,Skye and Freedom. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
‘Rescue starts from the moment they come through the doors’: TMARS co-founder

Puneet Grewal of Elkford co-founded TMARS in 2020, and with the help of a small army of volunteers and fosters has helped dozens of animals find homes

(Pixabay)
B.C. ranks as fourth most attractive Canadian jurisdiction for resources companies

B.C. was ahead of neighbouring Alberta, which was ranked as the seventh-best Canadian jurisdiction

Castlegar’s Gabrielle Herle (right) will be one of the speakers at the conference. She is seen here with Wendy Gaskill from Chinook Scaffolding accepting their Contractor of the Year Award in 2019 from the Builders Code Champion Awards. Photo: Submitted
Girls in STEAM and Leadership Conference offered free for all girls in the Kootenay Boundary

Virtual conference for girls in grades 8 to 12 will be taking place on March 8

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Interior Health officially declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Creekside Landing in Vernon on Jan. 3, which was followed by the first death from the virus 10 days later. (Kaigo photo)
COVID outbreak over at Vernon care home

Creekside Landing cleared of coronavirus, despite additional death in last day

Most Read