By Renny Mackay
LARAMIE, wyo – Biologists with the Game and Fish Department continue to monitor a bighorn sheep herd near Dubois for signs of sick animals. So far they have removed about a dozen of the nearly 600 sheep. Seven have tested positive for a bacteria which could cause pneumonia. Bighorn sheep are very susceptible to infection from pneumonia. Last winter 900 sheep died across the west. Only two of those animals were from Wyoming but Jason Hunter, the regional wildlife supervisor for Game and Fish in Lander, says pneumonia has been a problem with this particular herd for some time.
"Going back to the winter of 90-91 when we had a really significant pneumonia die off, ever since then we have been chugging along but haven't made any gains in the population after that and have been suffering from really low lamb recruitment rates," says Hunter.
The recruitment rate refers to the number of lambs that survive long enough to be able to reproduce.