Annual California bighorn sheep count canceled after death

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FILE – In this Oct. 20, 1999, file photo, a Peninsular bighorn sheep runs along a mesa in Anza-Borrego State Park in Southern California. An annual count of bighorn sheep scheduled for this July 4th weekend in a Southern California desert was canceled after a volunteer died while preparing for the excursion amid scorching heat. The Union-Tribune says the tally in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park typically draws dozens of volunteers who collect information for scientists monitoring the health of sheep. (John Gibbins/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP, File)

BORREGO SPRINGS, Calif. (AP) — An annual count of bighorn sheep scheduled for this weekend in a Southern California desert was canceled after a volunteer died while preparing for the excursion amid scorching heat.

The San Diego Union-Tribune says the tally in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park typically draws dozens of volunteers who collect information for scientists monitoring the health of sheep.

Sixty-eight-year-old Don White died June 19 while hiking in to leave water at his count site. The cause of death is under investigation, but it seems likely overheating played a role. It was 116 degrees that day.

Officials canceled the count and initiated a review of safety protocols.

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