3 bighorn sheep in Deadwood, S.D., herd die of pneumonia
DEADWOOD, S.D. — State wildlife officials said three dead bighorn sheep from a Deadwood herd transplanted from Canada have tested positive for a highly virulent strain of pneumonia.
Other bighorns have died in recent weeks, and one official said the positive tests are a “big concern,” the Rapid City Journal (http://bit.ly/2hOt0Ms ) reported.
South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks regional wildlife manager Trenton Haffley said the department received test results from the Washington Animal Disease and Diagnostic Laboratory on Tuesday that confirmed the most recent bighorn death was from mycoplasma ovi-pneumonia. The deadly bacterial disease is often the primary cause of pneumonia in sheep.
The bighorn was euthanized on Nov. 7 after being found near U.S. Highway 85. Since then, at least two bighorns from the herd have died. The department is waiting on results from the same laboratory.
“The 2016 lambs and the yearlings are all still doing really well, and those are the ones we would expect to be most susceptible to this disease — the older and younger bighorns,” Haffley said. “It’s a bummer we have the disease up there, but at this point we are somewhat hopeful we will be OK.”
According to Haffley, the most recent updates of the herd shows 11 of 26 original bighorns transplanted from Canada in February 2015 are still alive. He added that 13 of the 15 born in 2015, and four of five lambs born last spring, have been observed as recently as last week, giving wildlife managers hope.
“It’s not total doom and gloom,” said Haffley. “We are hopeful that a bunch of sheep will survive and that we’ll continue to have a herd up there.”