MALTA, Idaho (KLIX) Idaho wildlife officials lethally removed a bighorn sheep from a mountain east of Malta to protect other wild sheep.

On Wednesday, Idaho Department of Fish and Game officers found and killed a California bighorn after it is believed to have come in contact with domestic sheep. A hunter had reported seeing the wild sheep near a group of domestic sheep. The 2010 Bighorn Sheep Management Plan allows officers to remove wild bighorn if they come in contact with domestic sheep to protect wild populations from disease.

The nearest wild sheep population is to the west of Black Pine in the Jim Sage Mountains. Samples were taken from the bighorn to evaluate it's health. The meat will be donated to an area food bank according to Fish and Game. The horns and hide will be used for education purposes.

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