Wash. biologists to kill bighorn sheep - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wash. biologists to kill bighorn sheep

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YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) - State and federal wildlife officials will begin killing some wild bighorn sheep in the Yakima River Canyon later this month to curb the spread of pneumonia.

Pneumonia is often fatal in wild sheep, though it is not transmissible to humans or domestic livestock. There is no treatment or vaccination.

Donny Martorello of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife says biologists will spend several weeks identifying sheep that show signs of pneumonia, such as coughing and lethargy.

Martorello says about a third of the 260 animals comprising two wild herds in the canyon between Yakima and Ellensburg are expected to be euthanized.

The Yakima River area is home to more than half the state's 1,500 wild bighorn sheep.