In remote northwestern British Columbia, within Tahltan First Nation traditional territory and part of the Sacred Headwaters region, lies Todagin Mountain, a plateau that is home to what is thought to be the world’s largest lambing herd of Stone’s sheep.
Stone’s sheep occur only in a narrow band from northern BC to southern Yukon. This particular herd has lived largely isolated on the Todagin plateau. The Tahltan people traditionally hunted the sheep for food, and today there is a Tahltan-run outfitting business that guides bow hunters on Todagin.
Research on Stone’s sheep habitat use has tended to focus on winter ranges, as that is when the herd is most concentrated and easiest to survey from the air. The protection strategy for the Todagin herd reflects this. Its winter range was protected via Todagin South Slope Provincial Park in 2001, while its spring, summer and fall ranges were left unprotected.
In December 2010, the plateau was opened up to mining exploration. Resource development projects play a significant role in the local economy, although they have proven to be divisive among local residents due to environmental concerns.
A primary step to ensuring sustainable development in wildlife habitat is understanding the habitat needs. Our team of researchers and journalists will spend six months living with the herd to map the herd’s spring, summer and fall habitat use patterns and tell the story of the herd and its changing environment.