RIVERSIDE, Calif. — 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.
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.
The disease killed at least 21 bighorns whose carcasses were found in the area in December.
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