RAVALLI — Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal game wardens killed six bighorn sheep that escaped from the National Bison Range over concerns that they could have been exposed to pneumonia.
Tribal wildlife manager Dale Becker tells the Missoulian that six young sheep that found a way under the fence surrounding the wildlife refuge were shot last week near Ravalli, in western Montana.
Becker says the tribes’ policy calls for removing bighorn sheep that have been separated from herds because of the possibility they came in contact with domestic sheep, which can carry pneumonia. A pneumonia outbreak can decimate a wild sheep herd.
There are domestic sheep a mile west of the bison range.
Bison Range project leader Jeff King says the range’s bighorn population is close to 190, above its target population.
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