Grazing sheep being tested as ‘vegetation managers’
Winnipeg, MB – A flock of hungry sheep will soon call Winnipeg’s Living Prairie Museum their temporary home.
A pilot program aimed at testing the feasibility of grazing sheep as a means of vegetation management begins Monday, June 10 at the museum, which is one of the few remaining areas still occupied by native tall grass prairie.
“There have been a number of studies showing that grazers can have a positive effect when maintaining natural areas and can be an effective tool for weed control,” says City of Winnipeg naturalist Rodney Penner. “We are very excited to join the list of Canadian cities, such as Edmonton and Calgary, who are looking to such innovative ways of managing vegetation in naturalized park spaces.”
The program, delivered in partnership with Millar Safety & Environmental Services, Prairie Habitats Inc. and a long-time Manitoba sheep farmer, will be on the ground for approximately two weeks.
Media are invited to visit, observe and film the sheep Monday, June 10
Living Prairie Museum – 2795 Ness Avenue
Program staff will be available for interviews at this time.
The grazing will be conducted according to the Canadian National Farm Animal Care Council Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Sheep, which guides management and welfare practices for housing, care, transportation and aspects of other animal husbandry.
The sheep will spend their weekdays within a temporary, moveable fenced enclosure. They will return to their farm for the weekend.
While visitors to the museum are welcome to view grazing activities, the museum will not allow the public to pet, feed, or directly interact with the sheep to ensure both the animals’ and public safety. All visitors are asked to use the designated trails, and are reminded that all dogs must be on-leash.
The Living Prairie Museum is a 12 hectare (30 acre) tall grass prairie preserve located inside the City of Winnipeg. Set aside in 1968, this preserve is home to over 160 species of prairie plants and a great array of prairie wildlife. The goal of Living Prairie Museum is to provide awareness and conservation of natural areas, specifically tall grass prairie, through environmental education
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For more information, visit City of Winnipeg – Living Prairie Museum.