PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University’s iconic bighorn sheep, viewed publicly for decades on the corner of Grimes Way and Airport Road, have been relocated to a new home where they will no longer be accessible to the public.
Kept on campus as part of the university’s bighorn sheep disease research program, the animals have been relocated in accordance with U.S. Departmen of Agriculture regulations requiring new, taller fencing and improved facilities to further safeguard animal health and well-being.
The bighorns are now located in a series of enclosures barely visible on the northern skyline from the Pullman-Moscow Hwy. (SR270) near its intersection with Forest Way or the Chipman Trail.
While improvements could have been constructed at the Airport Road location, university planning guidelines prohibit construction of new heavy, chain-link fencing around the campus’ entrances that would have met the newer USDA regulations.
Several years ago, the animal resource unit of WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine was mandated by USDA to construct a second, interior fence at the old location to provide a buffer between people and the sheep. Without the second fence, the research animals were essentially on public exhibition, which was considered to be an undue stress and annoyance.
Today’s move further enhances the animals’ overall environment. The university welcomes the improvements and asks that the public respect the new access restrictions.