Why did 2500 sheep cross the road?

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Boise, Idaho: Why did 2500 sheep cross the road? Not only because the grass was greener on the other side, but also for bush fire management.

In Idaho, it’s not unusual to see ranchers moving a bleating herd of sheep up to higher elevation at this time of year. But 2500 woolly beasts trotting across a highway earlier this week was the largest turnout that Steve Stuebner, spokesman for the Idaho Rangeland Resources Commission, has seen in 15 years. The sight brought a crowd of 300 onlookers.

The sheep cross state Highway 55 near Eagle, Idaho, this week.Credit: KTVB-TV/AP

“It’s a novelty. Maybe they’ve never seen anything like that before, but it’s real typical in Idaho,” Stuebner told KTVB-TV.

“When you’re out in rural parts of Idaho in the spring and summer, or fall, you could run into a cattle drive or a sheep drive.”

Curious onlookers lined the road as the animals sheepishly entered the highway, guided by ranchers and steered by sheepdogs. They travelled up the road a bit, the fluffy white herd obscuring the yellow-painted centre line amid a chorus of “baas” and the lead ewe’s jangling bell.

Leaving the open road behind, they will journey through the sagebrush-dotted foothills for a few weeks to their northern summer home in the Boise National Forest.

The sheep move along state Highway 55 to cross the road near Eagle, Idaho.Credit: KTVB-TV/AP

This trip up to higher elevations is a tradition dating back about 100 years, the Boise-area TV station reported, and having the sheep graze in the forest helps prevent fires and invigorates plant growth.

The ovine spectacle will return when the sheep are brought back down again in the autumn.


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