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Man pleads guilty to genetically creating giant Franken-sheep

In Montana, an 80-year-old man, Arthur “Jack” Schubarth, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to two felony wildlife crimes linked to his scheme of offering paying customers the opportunity to hunt sheep on private ranches.

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However, these weren’t ordinary sheep; they were “massive hybrid sheep” resulting from the illegal importation of animal parts from central Asia, followed by cloning and breeding to produce an enormous hybrid species.

Schubarth owns and runs a 215-acre “alternative livestock” ranch in Vaughn, Montana, where he initiated this operation in 2013, as per a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice. “Alternative livestock” includes hybrids of mountain sheep, mountain goats, and other large mammals, often sought after by wealthy individuals for trophy hunting.

An unnamed accomplice of Schubarth initiated the decade-long scheme by illegally importing biological tissue from a Marco Polo sheep, the world’s largest sheep, from Kyrgyzstan into the U.S. in 2013, according to prosecutors.

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These sheep are exceptionally large, with an average male weighing over 300 pounds and horns stretching over 5 feet wide, making them possess the largest sheep horns globally.

Classified as endangered, these sheep are protected by international treaties and U.S. law. Montana also prohibits the importation of these foreign sheep or their parts to safeguard local American sheep from disease.

After smuggling the sheep parts into the U.S., Schubarth forwarded them to an unnamed laboratory, which generated 165 cloned embryos, according to the DOJ.

“Schubarth then implanted the embryos in ewes on his ranch, resulting in a single, pure genetic male Marco Polo argali that he named ‘Montana Mountain King’ or MMK,” the authorities wrote.

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Afterward, he undertook artificial insemination of his female sheep to establish a novel hybrid breed. These colossal “franken-sheep” were intended to serve as targets for trophy hunters seeking sport.

Everything had been proceeding as intended until authorities apprehended him.

“This was an audacious scheme to create massive hybrid sheep species to be sold and hunted as trophies,” said assistant Attorney General Todd Kim from the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

“In pursuit of this scheme, Schubarth violated international law and the Lacey Act, both of which protect the viability and health of native populations of animals.”

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Schubart conspired with at least five other people who are not named in the indictment. Schubarth faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 and is scheduled to be sentenced by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Brian M. Morris for the District of Montana in July.

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Jake Carter

Jake Carter is a researcher and a prolific writer who has been fascinated by science and the unexplained since childhood. He is always eager to share his findings and insights with the readers of anomalien.com, a website he created in 2013.