Montana Man Pleads Guilty to Creating Giant Hybrid Sheep in Lab

Featured image: joepyrek via Wikimedia Commons

A Montana man has pleaded guilty to two felony wildlife crimes after an almost decade-long effort to create giant hybrid sheep with cloned animal parts.


Arthur “Jack” Schubarth, 80, is the owner of Schubarth Ranch – a 215-acre alternative livestock ranch in Vaughn, MT. According to a March 12 press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, the ranch “is engaged in the purchase, sale and breeding of ‘alternative livestock’ such as mountain sheep, mountain goats and various ungulates. The primary market for Schubarth’s livestock is captive hunting operations, also known as shooting preserves or game ranches.”

Between 2013 and 2021, Schubarth and five other people worked to “create a larger hybrid species of sheep that would garner higher prices from shooting preserves.”

Schubarth imported parts of Marco Polo sheep from Kyrgyzstan, a protected species which is reportedly the largest in the world (average males can weigh over 300 pounds and their horns can span more than five feet). He used these parts to create clones and hybrids.

He named one of his sheep “Montana Mountain King” or MMK. MMK’s semen was used to impregnate other species of ewes to create hybrids. He also sold the semen to other sheep breeders.

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

The Lacey Act prohibits interstate trade in wildlife that has been taken, possessed, transported or sold in violation of federal or state law. It also prohibits the interstate sale of falsely labeled wildlife.

For each felony count, Schubarth faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and three years of supervised release. Schubarth is scheduled to be sentenced on July 11 by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Brian M. Morris for the District of Montana.

Written by Editorial Team

school bus boston wrong stop

Boston School Bus Driver Drops Kids off at Walgreens a Mile from Home

imperial beach smells like poop

Wealthy California Town Smells Like Poop: Report