/ Modified aug 14, 2015 8:06 p.m.

Answer to What Killed Bighorn Sheep in Santa Catalinas

Untreatable Illness has caused severe losses in herds throughout Western states.

desert bighorn spot

Listen:

LISTEN

Three ewes that died in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson in late July and early August were infected with pneumonia, the Arizona Game and Fish Department announced Friday.

"Pneumonia can have serious impacts on bighorn sheep populations and it’s possible that we may have additional mortalities in the coming months," said Mark Hart, a public information officer with Game and Fish.

There’s no effective treatment or vaccination against pneumonia for bighorn sheep.

The animals are prone to bacterial infections that cause pneumonia and, according to Game and Fish’s website, the illness has caused severe losses in bighorn sheep herds throughout western states.

The three sheep were relocated to the Catalinas from the Tonto National Forest in November last year, part of a two-year old program to reestablish a herd in an area they disappeared from in the 1990s.

Hart said the presence of pneumonia threatens plans to reintroduce additional sheep to the herd later this year.

"That doesn't mean we couldn't come back later and do an introduction in 2016 or 2017, but until we're sure how widespread the disease is among the population up there, we're going to have to take a wait and see attitude," Hart said.

By posting comments, you agree to our
AZPM encourages comments, but comments that contain profanity, unrelated information, threats, libel, defamatory statements, obscenities, pornography or that violate the law are not allowed. Comments that promote commercial products or services are not allowed. Comments in violation of this policy will be removed. Continued posting of comments that violate this policy will result in the commenter being banned from the site.

By submitting your comments, you hereby give AZPM the right to post your comments and potentially use them in any other form of media operated by this institution.
Arizona Public Media broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents. Arizona Public Media and AZPM are registered trademarks of the Arizona Board of Regents.
The University of Arizona