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Friday, July 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Bighorn sheep die-off closes hunting area near Yellowstone

A pair of bighorn sheep feeds just outside Yellowstone National Park near Gardiner, Mont., Jan. 24, 2004. (Associated Press)
A pair of bighorn sheep feeds just outside Yellowstone National Park near Gardiner, Mont., Jan. 24, 2004. (Associated Press)

 

HUNTING — A bighorn sheep die-off caused by disease has triggered the closure of hunting for the animals just outside Yellowstone National Park.

Montana Wildlife officials said Monday that at least 34 bighorn sheep have died in the pneumonia outbreak that began late last year near Gardiner, Montana. That’s almost 40 percent of the herd that ranges in the Gardiner and Cinnabar areas north of Yellowstone.

Wildlife commissioners issued the closure during a Monday conference call and said it would reopen when the population recovers.

Sheep in the Gardiner area have experienced smaller pneumonia outbreaks in the past few years.

There are domestic sheep in the same area. State officials say bacteria can be transmitted from healthy domestic sheep to bighorn sheep, causing pneumonia in the wild animals.




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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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