By Associated Press - Saturday, February 23, 2019

CHADRON, Neb. (AP) - Nearly 50 bighorn sheep in the Nebraska Panhandle have been outfitted with new tracking devices to help wildlife officials monitor their health and combat diseases.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission says helicopter crews captured the sheep, gave them vaccinations and equipped the animals with tracking collars and ear tags. Several ewes also received vaginal implant transmitters to help study lamb mortality.

Twenty-two sheep were tagged in the Wildcat near McGrew and 26 at three locations in the Pine Ridge near Chadron and Crawford. Seven chronically ill ewes also were taken to South Dakota State University for additional study.

About 50 people helped with the process, including commission staff and those with South Dakota State University, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, the Lincoln Zoo, private veterinarians and the Alliance Animal Clinic.

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