A state wildlife official estimates that half the bighorn sheep transported off Wild Horse Island died over the winter on the Kootenai Falls sheep range.
The sheep were moved off the island in Flathead Lake in mid-January. Thirty-eight sheep were captured on the island and moved to the Kootenai range in far northwestern Montana.
Jerry Brown is a wildlife biologist with the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. He said Thursday that some of the sheep were killed by mountain lions and others died because of the severe winter. He based his 50 percent survival estimate on aerial surveys during the April green-up period.
Brown says he’ll continue to monitor the sheep into the summer to determine if more than half the transplant survived.
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