According to multiple media reports, the National Parks Service is asking visitors to Zion National Park to monitor pneumonia in the park’s bighorn sheep population by reporting the sheeps’ coughing.
On July 20, biologists at Zion National Park identified a bighorn sheep ewe that was coughing and showing signs of illness. Shortly thereafter, the ewe was euthanized for testing. Lab tests of the ewe’s respiratory system showed the presence of Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae, a bacterium commonly associated with pneumonia in bighorn sheep.
Since the sighting of the initial coughing ewe, additional sick bighorns have been found in the park, and more samples have been collected.
While antibiotics and vaccines are not effective at treating the disease, helping the staff at Zion National Park know about coughing bighorn sheep will help them manage for healthy animals. You can reach the biologists at (435) 772-0217 or [email protected].