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Pneumonia Found in Five Bighorn Sheep Near Hamilton

By Beacon Staff

HAMILTON – Wildlife officials say pneumonia has been confirmed in another bighorn sheep population in west-central Montana.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks says the respiratory disease was found in five sheep in the Skalkaho population east of Hamilton. An FWP biologist has observed about 100 sheep in the population and shot eight that showed signs of having pneumonia. Samples from five of them were collected for further analysis.

Wildlife officials are expected to spend the next couple of days evaluating the extent of the potential outbreak and deciding the best response.

Recent pneumonia outbreaks affected bighorn sheep populations in the East Fork of the Bitterroot late last fall and herds in the Bonner area and Lower and Upper Rock Creek in January and February.

Bighorn sheep usually die within a few weeks of contracting the disease.

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