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Researchers ’cautiously optimistic’ about desert bighorn sheep recovery in Mojave Desert

Phys.org/news (FEBRUARY 22, 2021 )

Titre : Researchers ’cautiously optimistic’ about desert bighorn sheep recovery in Mojave Desert

Desert bighorn sheep in the Mojave National Preserve in California and surrounding areas appear to be more resilient than previously thought to a respiratory disease that killed dozens of them and sickened many more in 2013, a new study has found.

Phys.org/news (FEBRUARY 22, 2021 )

Présentation
The paper, published in the Journal of Wildlife Diseases, describes the results from testing blood samples of captured bighorn sheep for antibodies to Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae, a pathogen associated with respiratory disease in the animal.

The 2013 outbreak of the pathogen mobilized interest in the Mojave populations of desert bighorn sheep, leading the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Park Service, Epps and other partners to capture and release more animals to obtain blood samples to check their health and monitor population trends.

The Mojave Desert occupies about 43,000 square miles, of which 59% is in California. The California piece of the Mojave is about the size of the state of West Virginia. That large size leads to distinct, though connected, populations of desert bighorn sheep throughout the Mojave in California. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has captured sheep in 16 different mountain ranges.

In 2013, they captured 70 desert bighorn sheep in eight of those populations. Sixty percent of them had antibodies to Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae, the pathogen that causes the respiratory diseases. In four subsequent years of capturing bighorn sheep in up to 12 of those regions, between 12% and 15% had the antibodies. While the percentage of bighorn with antibodies has declined across most populations since 2013, the researchers continue to identify additional ranges where the pathogen has been present.

Source  : Sean Nealon, Oregon State University

Annonce (Phys.org/news)

Page publiée le 24 juin 2021