Following disease outbreak, Utah announces plans to restore bighorn sheep population

Bighorn sheep, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Zion National Park, St. George News

ANTELOPE ISLAND STATE PARK, Utah (AP) — Utah has announced plans to restore the state’s bighorn sheep population a year after a respiratory illness outbreak killed more than 100 sheep.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources unveiled plans Thursday to release 35 sheep on Antelope Island in January with the goal of increasing the island’s sheep population to 125.

Wildlife biologist Jace Taylor said only 26 out of 150 sheep survived the November 2018 outbreak on Antelope Island, but they were later euthanized.

Taylor said they still haven’t determined how the sheep contracted the disease.

In Southern Utah, an outbreak of the respiratory disease in bighorn sheep in Zion National Park last year did not result in any deaths, according to park wildlife biologists.

There are currently an estimated 4,150 bighorn sheep throughout Utah.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!