MELROSE, Mont. (AP) — Montana officials have released nine bighorn sheep ewes into the East Pioneer Mountains near Melrose as part of a statewide relocation program.

The sheep were taken from the Missouri Breaks north of Winifred and added to part of an existing herd in the Pioneers. The release area is the Maiden Rock FishingAccess Site on the Big Hole River.

According to the Montana Standard, biologists overseeing the program recommended that the sheep be relocated to South Dakota.

A citizen commission opposed that plan and said the animals should stay in Montana.

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Information from: The Montana Standard, http://www.mtstandard.com