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Bighorn Lambs Are Dying in California and No One Knows Why

USFWS Mountain-Prairie

In La Quinta, California, five bighorn lambs have died at SilverRock Resort and officials expect more deaths in the coming weeks.

Since May 6, the California Fish and Wildlife Services have reported that five bighorn lambs died at a La Quinta resort. As KESQ reported, “eleven lambs in that group are coming down daily, most appear sick with upper respiratory issues, and very skinny.” This tragedy points to an infectious disease making its way through the lamb community.

The lambs wander down from the mountains in groups and stake out areas around the resort. They are, in turn, a small tourist attraction, though there has been no human contact with the lambs. Officials were merely watching the group, gaging its health, when the lambs began dying.

The golf course at La Quinta is a favorite spot for bighorn sheep who have learned that they can wrangle a free meal out of the trek down the mountain. “Fish and Wildlife Services suspect a respiratory illness, possibly spread by the wet turf of the golf courses the bighorn sheep come to graze on.”

There currently is a land dispute raging between the resort and wildlife officials over the construction of a fence to keep the sheep out, and with this new respiratory illness going around, it could mean that a fence will appear sooner rather than later.

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Bighorn Lambs Are Dying in California and No One Knows Why