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

Snowboarders at Revelstoke Mountain Resort heading for the gondola. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Another 16 COVID-19 cases for Revelstoke

The cases were identified between Jan. 3 and 9

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

A performance by Alex Cuba will be streaming live on Arts Revelstoke platforms on Feb. 12, 2021. (Photo by Jeff Fasano, submitted by Arts Revelstoke)
Arts Revelstoke hosting virtual performances and movies this season

REVY. Live and Movies in the Mountains is returning

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
115 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths in Interior Health

There are now a total of 4,970 cases in the region

Shrubbery peeking through snow in downtown Revelstoke on Jan. 14. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
95% less snow in Revelstoke this winter compared to last year

However, there’s plenty of snow in the alpine

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

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)
More than 20 days have passed since the last case of COVID-19 was confirmed at Lakeside Manor. (File photo)
Salmon Arm retirement facility reopens social areas after COVID-19

More than 20 days have passed since last confirmed case at Lakeside Manor

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Most Read