BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- A University of Idaho professor participated in a recent state-sponsored meeting aimed at resolving conflicts between ranchers and bighorn sheep, even though the school removed her from sheep-related research while it investigates her role in a controversy over how wild sheep get sick.

Wildlife advocates at the Sept. 29 meeting of the Idaho Bighorn/Domestic Sheep Collaborative said Marie Bulgin indicated she was there on behalf of the UI's Caine Veterinary Teaching and Research Center in Caldwell, which she leads.

Since June, the UI has been investigating Bulgin's testimony in federal court and the Idaho Legislature contending there's no evidence bighorns can catch diseases from domestic sheep on the range.

That's despite evidence to the contrary, collected by Caine center researchers since at least 1994.

UI officials said Thursday they were gathering information about Bulgin's meeting participation and hadn't determined if it breached terms of her leave from her Caine center duties.

Copyright 2009 The AP.

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