West Nile Virus Found in Sage Grouse
This short report notes that sage grouse in Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and Oregon have been confirmed to have West Nile Virus (WNV).
WNV is an infectious viral disease with a significant mortality rate in birds. The fact that the already-marginal populations of sage grouse are now at risk from this disease is definitely a bad thing. Within the past couple of years, sage grouse were considered for being put on the endangered species list, but were not listed as either endangered or threatened. The steady decline in population seen over many years was not taken as an indication that the sage grouse needs the protection of the Endangered Species Act. Of course, listing sage grouse would cause a lot of changes in the region, affecting ranchers, hunters, developers, and energy interests in various ways.