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WGF Traps, Tests Bighorn Sheep

sheep test

Biologists with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department have once again been trapping big horn sheep in the Jackson Hole area to take blood samples and radio collar the ewes to track their movements between habitats.  Spokesman Mark Gocke explains that about half of the population had died off in 2002 but built back up again and then declined by about 30% again in 2012.  He says the tests will help biologists better understand these periodic struggles of the population. He says basically, the biologists are looking for pathogens that the sheep may have that might lead to pneumonia.  He says that’s what they typically see from time to time in bighorn sheep herds; not only here, but in the rest of Wyoming and actually across the west. Gocke says eight sheep were captured in this operation:  six on the east side of the National Elk Refuge and two in the Camp Creek area.  He says the sheep winter in a number of areas of the valley including Miller Butte on the refuge, up along the slope of Sleeping Indian, and others down near Camp Creek in Hoback Junction.  He says bighorn sheep are pretty hearty and can winter quite well even on wind-blown slopes.

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