During the winter of 1964-65, an East Kootenay Bighorn Sheep population of about 250-300 animals was entirely wiped out by a lungworm-disease complex associated with an impoverished winter range, inclement weather and artificial feeding. Subsequently, the enzootic spread to adjacent populations, resulting in heavy Bighorn losses on nearly all adjacent low-elevation winter ranges. The timing, distribution and extent of the mortalities suffered, and an assessment of pre- and post-die-off parasite levels were studied as part of an investigation into the causes and effects of the disease. In the interpretation of results, it is important that, prior to 1964, little factual information was available concerning the numbers, ranges, distribution, movements, reproductive and recruitment rates and parasite burdens of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep in B.C. Thus, very little established data is available with which to compare pre- and post-die-off population parameters. This means that almost all conclusions drawn in regard to cause and effect are deductive and are based upon information gathered between 1965 and the present.
Bandy, P.J.. 1968. Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep Losses in the East Kootenay Region of B.C. (1965-1967). Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks
Topic: Species and Ecosystems at Risk
Keywords: parasite, winter range, Whiteswan Lake, Rocky Mountain Trench
Scientific Name: Ovis canadensis
English Name: Bighorn Sheep
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