The carcasses of about 15 cattle that were floating in Owyhee Reservoir in Malheur County, Ore., have since sunk to the bottom of the reservoir, according to a county official.
Five carcasses that didn’t sink have been pulled to the shore by boat and then buried by ranchers, Malheur County Sheriff Brian Wolfe said this week.
“There are also other animals floating [in the reservoir], such as deer, antelope, and some fish,” Wolfe said. “The winter has been tough on cattle and wildlife.”
The carcarsses in the water were distressing to some who were out on and near the lake, in part because the public didn’t know what had caused the mass die-off or why they ended up in the water. Wolfe said ranchers were unable to get close enough to feed the cattle during the winter due to the heavy snow.
The cattle died near the reservoir, and their carcasses began to float when the water came up. Brownlee Reservoir also had a lot of dead cattle, deer, antelope and elk, Wolfe said.