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The State

February 09, 1988

Seven California bighorn sheep were found dead in rugged Warner Mountain Wilderness Area in southeastern Modoc County, and another 40 to 50 of the herd are unaccounted for. The California Fish and Game Department said the seven sheep died of an infectious bacteria. Officials were unable to immediately say whether the disease was passed on by domestic sheep or cattle. One bighorn has been found alive. The possibility that most of the herd may have died off was cause for concern, because there are only about 330 California bighorn in six habitats in the state and the dead animals were in the one area where the bighorn enjoyed its most successful recovery and growth. The California bighorn should not be confused with the more plentiful Nelson bighorn, found in the Mojave Desert. There are about 4,500 Nelson and peninsula bighorns in California.

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