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Bighorn Sheep Die Off In Custer State Park

March 8, 2005, 3:38 PM by

An outbreak of pneumonia has killed dozens of bighorn sheep in Custer State Park.

Biologist Gary Brundige says 175 of the park's 200 bighorns may have died. A lot of dead animals are in remote places, so the park is guessing at the extent of the die off based on how many live animals they see.

Officials suspect one or more of the park sheep picked up the disease through contact with domestic sheep, which can carry the bacteria and not get sick.

Brundige says he doesn't think the disease has spread to other bighorn herds in the Black Hills.

Because of the die off, the park may have to transplant bighorn sheep from other herds. The state also may suspend this year's hunting season that offers three licenses for bighorn rams in the park.

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