How big is Idaho? About 80,000 square miles with a population of about 1.5 millions. And Montana? About 145,000 square miles with about one million people living there. Both states belong to the least densely populated states in the US. So why would the U.S. Department of Agriculture have a research facility in close proximity to animals who live in the wild, have not many choices of where they want to live, but are threatened by diseases spread by other animals if they get too close to them?
“For bighorn sheep who make their home in the mountains running through Idaho and Montana, transmission of diseases from domestic sheep are a deadly problem.
Pneumonia can be passed to bighorns from domestic sheep and goats, and the outcome can be deadly to entire populations. In fact, over the last 25 years, bighorn sheep populations in Idaho have declined by nearly 50%.
Right now, bighorn sheep are at risk to disease transmission from grazing domestic sheep at a U.S. Department of Agriculture research facility in Idaho.”
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