An epizootic of infectious keratoconjunctivitis occurred in bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) in Yellowstone National Park during the winter of 1981–82. The causative organism was identified as Chlamydia sp. Mortality related to the epizootic was approximately 60% of an estimated 500 bighorn sheep in the northern range population. The infection probably affected all sex and age classes, but field surveys of live animals and mortality suggested that mature rams died disproportionately. Limited field observations the following winter on individuals having both normal and cloudy-appearing eyes suggested that half of the bighorns then present on the core units of winter range had contracted the disease and survived. By 1988, there were about 300 bighorn sheep in the population.
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Vol. 28 • No. 2