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July 24, 2014 07:49 AM

Bighorn Sheep Transplants Chosen Carefully

Bighorn sheep slated to be transferred from Canada to western South Dakota were picked for their ability to withstand harsh winters and for their familiarity with mining activities.

The Game, Fish and Parks Department is bringing 40 bighorns from Alberta to the Deadwood area early next year as part of a program to rebuild Black Hills herds.

Senior wildlife biologist Chad Lehman said the sheep are big and heavy, which will be an asset in the heavy snow that falls in the Deadwood area. He says they're also used to mining activity.

Bighorn sheep are native to the Black Hills, but disease has decimated herds over the years. The state is using $80,000 from the auction of a hunting license to establish the new herd.

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