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Fri., Sept. 30, 2011, 7:35 a.m.

Smoke make have provoked latest bighorn dieoff in western Montana

A bighorn sheep ram sits on a ridge above Soda Butte Creek in Yellowstone National Park. (Associated Press photos / The Spokesman-Review)
A bighorn sheep ram sits on a ridge above Soda Butte Creek in Yellowstone National Park. (Associated Press photos / The Spokesman-Review)

WILDLIFE – Montana wildlife officials say another pneumonia outbreak has killed several bighorn sheep in the Skalkaho area in western Montana.

Officials tell the Missoulian that two dead sheep recently died from severe cases of pneumonia, and that a third sheep had been dead too long to identify the cause.

Veterinarian Brent Rice of Hamilton says smoky conditions in the area from forest fires might have stressed the bighorns and made them more susceptible.

Officials say that if the outbreak spreads it would be the seventh major die-off of bighorns in western Montana since 2009.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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