Developed for "Llama Packers" and "Llama Owners" to have access to research, scientific data, and information related to the scientifically unfounded proposals and current bans of pack llamas on our public lands. is run by the volunteer pack llama industry ad-hoc public lands access committee of: Phil and Linda Nuechterlein, Stan Ebel, Scott Woodruff, Barb Baker, and Beau Baty.
Pack Llamas in Alaska Wild Sheep Country

Wild Sheep Foundation promotes the banning of pack llamas on your public lands with false science

Wild Sheep Foundation and Kevin Hurley -Vice-President for Conservation & Operations called for a ban on pack llamas on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge based upon misinformation and false science.

Response from Scott Woodruff, Stan Ebel, and Phil Nuechterlein on the Wild Sheep Foundations false claims of disease risk to ungulates on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Wild Sheep Foundation Calls For A Llama Ban: NORTH AMERICAN CONSERVATION VISION 2020

(page 4, and page 6)

 The CCH 17 is the document that Wild Sheep Foundation references in its Conservation Vision 2020 recommendations to ban llamas (camelids) from all North American wild sheep ranges as well as in its comments submitted to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge recommending banning llamas from the refuge.  This commentary discusses the manipulated science that resulted in the surveys unsupported conclusions and it exposes the WSF’s discussions at their 2017 Thinhorn Sheep Summit that ultimately produced the compromised document as a basis to advance their agenda to ban llamas from wild sheep habitat.


UPDATED 06/22/20 - this Commentary #6 may evolve as additional information becomes available.

NEW! Good news for llama packers - December, 2020
The Alaska BLM Bering Sea - Western Interior has allowed llamas to be permitted for use by changing the wording to: (page 20) For further clarification, the text in the Proposed RMP/Final EIS under Wildlife Management has been changed to: “To minimize the potential for disease transmission to wildlife, applications for the use of pack animals will be reviewed on a project-specific basis.” This will put pack llamas on equal footing with horses and mules when considering use in the BLM-Bering Sea-Western Interior. It does not single out camelids as a disease threat to wild sheep.
NEW! Good news for llama packers - February 20th, 2020
The American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners (AASRP), over 1000 veterinarians strong, has issued the following policy statement on any proposed bans of camelids based upon the threat of disease to wild sheep on public land "...there have been no peer-reviewed publications documenting pathogen transmission from camelids to wild ungulates or to domestic sheep and goats for the pathogens of concern. The American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners is opposed to banning camelid pack animals on public lands until there is scientific justification for this action."
NEW! Good news for llama packers - January 27th, 2020
Alaska: The USFS-Alaska Regional Forester and The Chugach National Forest Supervisor (CNF) have rescinded the Draft Record of Decision (DROD) and the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) to ban llamas based upon disease transmission to wild sheep and goats. Through a formal process of Objections to the DROD and FEIS, the Region 10 Forester has directed the CNF Supervisor to continue to allow pack llamas on the CNF. "...I am also instructing Forest Supervisor Schramm to remove references to llamas (or lamas) as potential vectors for the transfer of pathogens to Dall sheep or mountain goats from the FEIS. This may be completed in an errata to the FEIS."
NEW! Good news for llama packers - July 17th, 2019

Wyoming Game and Fish Department Releases Whiskey Mountain Bighorn Sheep Plan "Experiments have been conducted to evaluate the potential for respiratory pathogen transference from elk, whitetail-deer, mule deer, horses, llamas, and cattle. There was little indication any of these animals posed a risk to bighorn sheep"

NEW! Good news for llama packers - June 11th, 2018

Alaska Department of Fish and Game disagrees with the Wild Sheep Foundation on banning llamas. Read their letter to the GALA here!

BLM Manual -1730 - Management of Domestic Sheep and Goats to Sustain Wild Sheep (Public)
Stan Ebel-Comments to AK-EI BLM (2018)
Dr. Gregg Adams June 22nd, 2016 e-mail

"Effective separation is defined as spatial or temporal separation between thinhorn sheep and domestic sheep or goats. Reducing the potential for association between those taxa and the likelihood of transmission of pathogenic organisms or parasites between species is critically important. Maintaining effective separation is presently the only meaningful tool available for minimizing pathogen transfer and the risk of respiratory disease."

Invited Paper: Pneumonia in Bighorn Sheep: Risk and Resilience (2017)

"A host-specific pathogen commonly carried by domestic sheep and goats is consistent with the high mortality observed in captive bighorn sheep when commingled with domestic sheep but not when commingled with non-Caprinae livestock including cattle, horses, and llamas (Foreyt 1992, Foreyt and Lagerquist 1996, Besser et al. 2012a)."

FOREYT, W. J. 1994. Effects of controlled contact exposure between healthy bighorn sheep and llamas, domestic goats, mountain goats, cattle, domestic sheep, or mouflon sheep. Proceedings of the Biennial Symposium of the Northern Wild Sheep and Goat Council 9:7-14.
Schommer-Woolever 2008 A Review of Disease-Related Conflicts Between Domestic Sheep and Goats and Bighorn Sheep_USFS September (2008) * The USFS has retracted this RMRS-GTR-209 document because of a court order against the Payette Principles Committee. As a whole, it can not be used by the USFS for decision or policy developement. The court order does not preclude the underlying scientific literature reviewed by the Payette Principles Committee nor the scientific literature referenced in this GTR.
WSF-M.ovi-Summary-Thinhorn Sheep Summit II- Dr. Tom Besser: Bighorn and Domestic Sheep Disease Research at WSU
Dr. Kimberlee Beckmen 2020 -WSWG, Mycoplasma Ovipneumoniae-Highlights of Research and Investigative Findings in Alaska
Dr. Kimberlee Beckmen-Orf virus infection in Alaskan mountain goats, Dall’s sheep, muskoxen, caribou and Sitka black-tailed deer (2018)
Dr. Murray Folwler-Camelids Are Not Ruminants
Parallel Evolution
Classification of the Artiodactyla
Bighorn Domestic Sheep Working Group (BHDSWG) Science Symposium – June 10, 2019

Bighorn sheep biologists/vets address the question of arbitrary pathogens and disease threats to wild sheep by the llama industry.

Email correspondence between committee member Phil Nuechterlein and Dr. Helen Schwantjes on her CCH-17 RA and its peer reviewed status.
WSWG Communications with Ad-Hoc Committee For Llama Public Lands Access

WSWG-Feb-26-2018 (Initial contact with WSWG and concerns re: the posting of CCH’17 and it’s lack evidence and implications for llamas.)

WSWG-Mar-09-2018 (Mike’s response to initial request to take down the CCH’17 posting on their site.  Sympathetic to our concerns.)

WSWG-April-20-2018 (Address Mike’s concern re: CE.  Express our misgivings with WSF’s level of involvement and influence with WSWG.)

WSWG-April-02-2020 (Arranging a Zoom a call with WSWG. Supplying extensive background regarding WSF strategies to cast llamas as a disease threat and the countering information that shows llamas a negligible threat.)

WSWG-April-30-2020 (Zoom call didn’t happen. No response to information supplied previously.  Sending Mike the AASRP statement disqualifying the diseases in the CCH’17 as significant in llamas.)

WSWG-June-23-2020 (Ask Mike for a statement from WSWG dismissing Dr. Schwantje’s RA’s.  Supply background and documentation establishing their undocumented, hypothetical essence as well as WSF promotion of llama ban.)

WSWG-June-24-2020 (Final arrrangements Zoom Call and subsequent postponement,  acknowledgement of receipt of extensive information)

WSWG-July-09-2020 (Sent Canyonlands settlement with DOI that removed llamas as a disease threat to wild sheep.)

WSWG-Aug-11-2020 (Mike sent a summary of WSWG summer meeting and our request to get a statement.)

WSWG-July-13-2021 (In 7/2/21 email Mike says we need testing and a passport protocol. We take exception,  They have not discussed as promised and have unilaterally tdaken this action.  We decline and communications ceased until receipt of 9/22/22 draft Brief.)

The following are the summaries and meetings of the Wild Sheep Foundation outlining their promotion and planning to eliminate pack llamas on your public land
The Kevin and Janine Rinke Thinhorn Initiative-WSF’s 2014 Thinhorn Sheep Summit Action Plan Update -March 2015 Update Prepared by: Jeremy Ayotte (04/06/2015) and edited by Kevin Hurley (04/07/2015)
Thinhorn Sheep Summit II Synthesis-Summary 6-6-2017
The following document was submitted to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game from the AK Chapter Wild Sheep Foundation. It includes one document by the AK-Wildlife Society proposing to ban llamas.
Disease Risk to Dall's sheep in Alaska - Executive Summary Posted by the Alaska Fish and Game Department from the Wild Sheep Foundation. Signed by Kevin Kehoe-President AK-Wild Sheep Foundation, Kevin Hurley-Wild Sheep Foundation, Dr. Perigrene Wolff, President American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians, the Alaska Chapter of The Wildlife Society.
The following are links to scientifically unfounded documents, risk assessments, and non-profit position papers calling for the banning of pack llamas on your public land. It is promoted and supported by the Wild Sheep Foundation, The Alaska Wildlife Society, and the work of British Columbia wildlife veterinarian Dr. Helen Schwantje.
Communicable Disease Risks to Wildlife From Camelids in British Columbia -Helen Schwantje-DVM-2003
Examining the Risk of Disease Transmission between Wild Dall’s Sheep and Mountain Goats, Llamas in the Northwest Territories Garde, E., et al. 2005
Alaska-The Wildlife Society sheep and llama disease letter to the Alaska -U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-National Wildlife Refuge, National Park Service, USDA-USFS and BLM (President Jerry Hupp May 2013) (Sent to USFWS-Artic National Wildife Refuge, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, Tetlin National Wildlfe Refuge. NPS-Denali National Park and Preserve, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Katmai National Park and Preserve, Kenai Fjords National Park, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. USFS- Chugach National Forest, Tongass National Forest. BLM- Anchorage Field Office, Glennallen Field Office, Arctic Field Office, Central Yukon Field Office, Eastern Interior Field Office, Anchorage District Office, Fairbanks Field Office)
The Hunter Conservationalist Podcast with Mark Hall

Ep 14 - The Life and Times of a Wildlife Vet with Dr. Helen Schwantje (full audio)

Helen discusses her RA's on llamas and how the testing of species for M.ovi has a long way to go for accuracy and wishes her RA's being used for denial of public land access would never have come up. Helen also insinuates that a pack llama spread ORF to mountain goats, which has no credible science to justify this misinformation. No, llamas are not closer related to sheep and goats as opposed to elk and moose. Sheep, goats, elk, and moose are in the sub-order Ruminantia. Llamas are not. (13 Minutes)
From The Meat Eater Podcast Ep: 132 (Sept. 3, 2018)

Wild Sheep Foundation's Gray Thornton and Clay Brewer answer Steve's question."Does my brother need to kill all his llamas?". Referring to the false accusation that llamas pose a disease threat to wild sheep. Gray says they're not too concerned about it, but Helen Schwantje up in BC is. They definitely dogged the question, and didn't tell the truth because there was already an orchestrated and well funded push by the WSF-Thin Horn Sheep Initiates "NO CONTACT IN THE NORTH" including Helen Schwantjes non peer reviewed RA's to eliminate pack llamas on public land in wild sheep habitat. No Clay and Gray, you already have poked that one in the eye. (9 minutes)

Articles of interest
Phil Nuechterlein's article submitted to the Outdoor Alaska-Alaska Outdoor Council (pg.6) - "Pack animals denied on BLM lands in the Eastern Interior RMP" - Spring 2018
"Study looks at why Montana's bighorn sheep are still plagued by die-offfs" Independent Record-Brett French-April 11th, 2018
"Wild Sheep Foundation caught in auction tag fray" Lewiston Tribune-Eric Barker- Nov. 12th, 2016
The Untimate Pursuit in Hunting:Sheep-New York Times-by John Branch
All 11 major special interest groups comments on EI-RMP