Monday, October 04, 2010

Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep ravaged by disease

Across the northern Rocky Mountains, bighorn sheep are dying by the hundreds from pneumonia and alarmed wildlife officials are hunting and killing the majestic animals to halt the spread of the disease. Since winter, nine disease outbreaks across five states in the West have claimed nearly 1,000 bighorns, prized as a game animal for the prominent curled horns of the adult males, or rams. Scientists recently confirmed what they long suspected — the cause of the plague is contact between the wild bighorns and domestic sheep flocks. Putting the blame on domestic sheep has heightened a furious debate between advocates of the wild bighorns and sheep ranchers — one skirmish in a bigger war between proponents of economic interests and those seeking protection of remaining wild areas and species in America’s West...more

No comments: