Conservation officers are investigating after a California bighorn sheep was illegally shot and killed in the Okanagan.
The ram was found northwest of Kelowna along Westside Road in the Shelter Cove area on Friday.
A motorist spotted the injured animal next to the road around 5 p.m. and called conservation officers, according to a news release.
The herd that lives near Westside Road consists of approximately 75 animals, according to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.
“The population has been supplemented with additional animals via translocations on several occasions to help maintain viable numbers,” conservation officer Ken Owens said in a news release. “No licensed harvest of bighorn sheep occurs in this area.”
Owens said bighorn sheep are considered a “blue list” species in B.C., which means that they are a species of concern because of limited habitat options that keep their population low.
“Illegal kills of sheep have serious consequences for legal harvest, game viewing, and genetic quality of herds in the area,” he said.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact conservation officers at 1-877-952-7277.