VIDEO: Bighorn sheep find road salt irresistible in the Okanagan

Big horn sheep licking the salt on the roads on Highway 97 in Olalla. Ministry of Transportation has placed salt stations above the highway to deter this from happening. (Fred Allison Facebook)
Steve Pee's vehicle was blocked by more than a dozen bighorn sheep licking the salt off Eastside Rd in OK Falls last week. (Steve Pee video)

Big Horn sheep find road salt irresistible and their taste for it is creating a lot of close encounters along highways in the Okanagan and Similkameen this winter.

Several videos, pictures and close encounters have been showing up all over Penticton, OK Falls and Olalla since winter’s first snowfalls.

Stevie Pee took out his phone when more than a dozen Big Horn sheep blocked traffic along Eastside Rd. in OK Falls last week. The sheep had come down the mountain so they could lick the road salt.

Lakeside and Eastside Road are locations of large sheep populations. They tend to come down to the road during the winter months. It’s a particularly dangerous road for wildlife encounters because of how windy it is.

The Ministry of Transportation has been working to mitigate wildlife encounters on B.C. roads and has come up with some creative ideas. One pilot project is providing salt-lick stations to steer mountain goats away from highways. The ministry also uses dog hair to deter big horn sheep from roadsides in the Kootenays.

One salt lick station is located in the Keremeos-Cawston area on the hills above Highway 3A, above Olalla, to deter mountain goats from moving towards the highway. The salt is placed several hundred meters up in the bluffs, and is maintained in a specific spot for predictability, said a ministry spokesperson.

Similar salt licks also appear along Highway 31. The ministry is also supporting moose-salt lick monitoring studies by the University of Northern B.C. along Highway 16 in the north.

Other efforts for protecting wildlife safety include roadside signs warning drivers of wildlife present in known areas. There is wildlife fencing too, like the fenced section between Okanagan Falls and Gallagher Lake on Highway 97, to prevent sheep and other wildlife from entering the highway.

The ministry has modified bridges to increase safe wildlife passage (across Highway 3, east of Sparwood in southeastern B.C.).

Local Conservation Officer Dave Cox said encounters with wildlife on roads is all too common, especially in high migration corridors.

“Drivers always need to paying attention for wildlife and exercising caution when they see road signs about wildlife,” said Cox. “We all want to prevent injuring wildlife.”

But if you do encounter an injured or dead animal, call the RAPP Line at 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP) or #7277 on the TELUS Mobility Network.



monique.Tamminga@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Benjamin Cashion, left, the first baby born at Shuswap Lake General Hospital in 2021, is already taking to his older brother Liam. (Submitted)
Newcomers to Shuswap welcome Salmon Arm hospital’s first baby of 2021

The Cashion family’s newest son Benjamin was born on Jan. 8.

A map released by the BCCDC on Jan. 15 shows the number of new COVID-19 cases reported for each local health area between Jan. 3 and 9. (BCCDC Image)
Salmon Arm and Vernon see increase in new COVID cases, curve flattening elsewhere

The rate of new cases is levelling off in Kelowna, Penticton and Revelstoke.

(Photo: Pixabay)
Enderby chamber proposes new rural e-business training program

The program would help rural-area businesses expand using online tools and insights

Signs in Homer, Alaska, offer inspiration during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Michael Armstrong-Homer News)
COLUMN: COVID-19 pandemic hits home

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

With bridge construction well underway on the project to replace the Solsqua-Sicamous bridge. Motorists should expect delays of up to half an hour. (Jim Elliot/Eagle Valley News)
Pedestrian path would connect Solsqua-Sicamous bridge to community

District of Sicamous staff say bridge replacement project on tight schedule

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

The organizer of a Kelowna protest against COVID-19 restrictions was fined by the RCMP for the third time Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19: Organizer of Kelowna anti-restriction protest ticketed for third time

The individual’s latest ticket for $2,300 was handed out by RCMP at an anti-lockdown rally Saturday

Mount Boucherie Secondary School is one of three Kelowna schools with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to an update from the school district Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at 3 Kelowna schools

Interior Health has confirmed exposures at Mount Boucherie, Springvalley and South Rutland schools

Half of the most expensive homes are on 2080 Mackenzie Crt, which is across the street from Revelstoke Mountain Resort. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
The 10 most valuable homes in Revelstoke for 2020

Combined, the properties are worth more than $35M

Lake Country native Evan-Riley Brown is in the cast for the new film Journey To Royal: A WW II Rescue Mission to be released on video on demand and streaming services on Feb. 2. (Contributed)
Okanagan actor lands role in WW II movie

Evan-Riley Brown, from Lake Country, cast in production labelled as hybrid of a feature film and documentary called Journey To Royal: a WW II Rescue Mission.

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Most Read