Boise, Idaho – State and tribal wildlife biologists in
Idaho are heading into the busy season in their study of the
effects of West Nile virus on the sage grouse.
That's because early August is about the time that fatalities
attributable to West Nile begin to appear in sage grouse
populations across Idaho and the west.
Daniel Gossett is a biologist hired by the Shoshone-Paiute
Tribes at Duck Valley Indian Reservation to study the virus on sage
grouse for the next two years. Gossett says West Nile can be
devastating on sage grouse, capable of killing up to 90 percent of
For the sage grouse, West Nile is the latest threat to its
livelihood. The population of the popular game bird has dwindled to
a fraction of its original size across the west due to wildfire,
road building and oil and gas drilling.
In Wyoming, Governor Dave Freudenthal has appointed a panel to
look into how to improve sage grouse numbers and habitat.