Bighorns Killed after Contacting Domestic Sheep

Excerpt from The Post Register

“Domestic sheep and goats often carry pathogens that wild sheep may be susceptible to…”

Two bighorn sheep rams that were in immediate proximity to domestic sheep near Challis were euthanized Thursday to prevent the sheep from potentially carrying disease back to the wild herd. One ram was 5 years old and the other was 6 years old. Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials killed two bighorn rams after attempts to dart and radio collar the animals failed Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning.

The bighorn sheep were removed from a hillside adjacent to a small flock of domestic sheep on the outskirts of Challis, a Fish and Game news release said.

Samples were taken immediately after the sheep were killed, and the samples and carcasses were transported to a wildlife health lab for analysis.

Because bighorn sheep are susceptible to diseases that can be carried by domestic sheep and goats, the Department’s 2010 Bighorn Sheep Management Plan provides direction that Fish and Game remove bighorns in a timely manner when they come in contact with domestic herds to prevent potential transmission of disease to other bighorn sheep, the release said.

Domestic sheep and goats often carry pathogens that wild sheep may be susceptible to and that can result in fatal pneumonia or other diseases, the release said. The greatest risk occurs when a wild sheep mixes with domestic sheep or goats and then returns to a wild herd, potentially spreading the pathogens. In some cases, this can result in large-scale die-offs in wild sheep.

The bighorn rams were killed to prevent risk of them returning to their herds and potentially infecting other bighorns, the release said. The domestic sheep are also being tested…(CONTINUED)