RIVERSIDE (AP) — A new survey has found a sharp decline in desert bighorn sheep in Southern California and biologists suspect the cause is a disease contracted from domestic animals.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife says a survey earlier this month counted 60 bighorns in the Mount San Gorgonio region east of Los Angeles. That’s down two-thirds from a survey conducted in 2016.READ MORE: UPDATE: Evacuations Expand As Fawn Fire Near Shasta Lake Grows To 1,200 Acres; Suspected Arsonist Arrested
Biologist Jeff Villepique says in the past, such die-offs have been triggered by an outbreak of a respiratory disease spread by contact with domestic sheep or goats.READ MORE: UPDATE: Suspect Arrested for August Attempted Rape in Castro Valley
The disease killed at least 21 bighorns whose carcasses were found in the area in December.
Southern California has about 4,800 desert bighorn sheep in 64 herds. Authorities say so far, sheep in nearby herds haven’t been affected.MORE NEWS: Healdsburg Man Pleads No Contest To 2016 Drowning Of Daughter In Church Baptismal Pool
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