Following Lamb's Death, Another Marshfield Zoo Bighorn Dies

August 26, 2016

Two-and-a-half weeks after losing their one-month old lamb, the Wildwood Zoo's (Marshfield, Wisc.) adult male bighorn sheep Rocky died from pneumonia complications.

"It's sad anytime you lose an animal. For our staff and for our visitors. Everyone is affected," Zookeeper Steven Burns said.

Burns said Rocky was likely exposed to a common sheep bacteria Pasteurella multocida when the now-deceased lamb was born.

"The bacteria alone doesn't necessarily cause pneumonia," Burns said. "But the presence of some secondary factor like hot weather, stress or injury can result in that manifesting as pneumonia."

It is also unclear where the bacteria came from.

"Could have come in on hay that we're buying from area farmers. Maybe they're domestic animals infected the feed that we're feeding the animals. That its coming in on our clothing and our boots from other animals at the zoo," Burns said.

Without knowing the bacteria's source, Burns said new bighorn sheep would no longer be brought to the Wildwood Zoo.

"We just don't feel comfortable bringing new animals in at this time until we can comfortably say they have a good future here," Burns said. "Going forward, in the immediate future, we just want to make sure that she gets the best care possible."

Rocky was not the lamb's father. The female sheep arrived at the zoo pregnant. Burns said the ewe, who continues showing no signs of illness, has been treated on antibiotics as a precaution, since her baby died.

Burns said there is currently no danger to humans.

Reprinted from WSAW-TV