"Bighorn Sheep Die-Off Prompts Another Hunting Closure in Montana"

"Montana has closed the hunting season on a wild herd of bighorn sheep, with pneumonia suspected of killing dozens of the animals whose seasonal mating rituals attract scores of wildlife watchers.

The emergency closure came after the disease-related deaths of more than 90 of the animals from a herd in northwestern Montana, where just 18 bighorns were counted earlier this month during a helicopter survey by state wildlife biologists. That is the lowest count since the herd was reintroduced to the area in 1979, they said in a statement.

The step marks the second such hunting closure by the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission, with a similar move on March 23 for a herd near Yellowstone National Park, also due to fears over pneumonia."

Laura Zuckerman reports for Reuters April 21, 2015.

Source: Reuters, 04/21/2015