The Wild Sheep Foundation Honours 2022 CIC Markhor Award Winners

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The Wild Sheep Foundation (WSF) honoured the winners of 2022 CIC Markhor Award at the 2023 Sheep Show in Reno for their efforts repatriating desert bighorn sheep in Mexico.

Originally presented at the CBD COP15 in Montreal last year, the Markhor Award is hosted at every CBD COP and is awarded to projects that link the conservation of biodiversity and human livelihoods through sustainable use.

The project in Mexico stood out to the CIC jury for its innovative use of nursery herds to repatriate desert bighorn sheep. By conducting this practice across three different ranches in Mexico, the winners were able to grow a starting population of 353 desert sheep to 1,500 in the space of a few years.

Shane Mahoney, President of the CIC Policy & Law Division, was on stage at the event to give an overview of the origins of the Markhor Award, and its significance in promoting principles of conservation best practices around the world.

Gray N. Thornton, President and CEO of WSF, introduced the three winners, who received the bronze Markhor statue in commemoration of their achievement.

The initiative uses market forces and IUCN sustainable use guidelines and principles to encourage landowners to follow the example of leaders before them to grow – and then repatriate – desert bighorn sheep into historical free range, but extirpated, habitats.”

A full video of the ceremony can be viewed in the video above.

The award was presented to the following individuals for leading the project in their respective states:

  • Javier Arteé (Sonora, Rancho Sierra El Álamo)
  • Emilio Rangel Woodard (Coahuila, Rancho La Palmosa)
  • Jose Antonio Vallina (Chihuahua, Rancho La Guarida)

The award winners are all members and leaders of WSF’s Mexico Counsel, which was established in 2017/18 to promote cooperation amongst landowners and outfitters.

Once again, the CIC extends its congratulations to the 2022 Markhor Award winners, and encourages others to follow their example in leading innovative conservation efforts.