"We have a lot at stake here," says Lloyd Oldenburg, an Idaho Fish and Game biologist. "The restoration project hangs in the balance."
Domestic sheep in the area are also in jeopardy, since many blame them for spreading the disease. In response to the outbreak, a coalition of hunting and conservation groups has asked for an injunction to speed up the removal of domestic sheep from the recreation area. Forest Service officials say they plan to close the remaining allotments by fall 1996 (HCN, 10/2/95).
"Management of that area has been a tragedy," says Pete Frost, a National Wildlife Federation attorney in Portland, Ore. "The domestic sheep should have been out of there two years ago."
Meanwhile, wildlife officials continue to look for ways to halt the epidemic; the most recent tactic involves dispersing medicated salt licks throughout the Hells Canyon area.
* Jenny Emery