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Wyomingites asked to report dead sage grouse

Cheyenne – All Wyomingites, especially landowners, are again being asked to assist in the management of the state’s sage grouse populations this summer by immediately reporting dead sage grouse to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department so they can be tested for West Nile virus.

Past research has shown sage grouse have low resistance to the disease, which is usually fatal to the birds. Evidence of West Nile virus has been reported in northeast Wyoming and in surrounding states, including a sage grouse in North Dakota.

Tom Christiansen, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s sage grouse program coordinator, said that while there is no sign yet of an outbreak of the virus, this year’s precipitation and warm weather has created conditions favorable for mosquitoes, which can carry the virus.

“Warm nighttime temperatures are thought to enhance the ability of the West Nile virus to multiply in the gut of the mosquito. If conditions are warm between now and the end of August, we could see the virus show up this year,” Christiansen said.