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California Mammoth Snowstorms Take Toll On Sierra Wildlife

California Department of Fish and Game / AP
 

California Department of Fish and Game / AP

(AP) - Officials say California's mammoth snowstorms following five years of drought have taken a toll on the iconic Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep.

Wildlife biologist Jason Holley of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife says dozens of the protected animals perished in avalanches or starved.

State snowpack surveyors head out Monday for the final manual measurement of the wet season - expected to be a record setter. Electronic sensors say it's nearly double normal for this time of year.

Holley says many wild black bears are staying tucked away in their dens, hibernating for a month longer than normal.

Backpackers seeking adventure in the vast mountain range should also think twice.

The Sierra Club California's Kathryn Phillips says hiking in the snow takes know-how and the right equipment.

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