Monday, February 29, 2016

Point Reyes Elk Test Positive for Disease

A potentially fatal bacterial disease has been found among a free-roaming tule elk herd at Point Reyes National Seashore, raising concerns about the close proximity of wildlife to cattle on national parkland.
Five adult elk from the herd above Drake’s Beach tested positive for Johne’s disease in February, following hundreds of negative results from samples collected since May 2014. Although it’s not known for sure how these elk contracted the disease, which can result in rapid weight loss and diarrhea years later in an animal’s life, it can be rampant in cattle operations. The Drake’s Beach elk herd shares park-owned pastureland with cattle that belong to the Seashore’s historic ranches. The discovery could complicate the National Park Service’s efforts to relocate tule elk to other areas of the park or elsewhere in the state, an option that’s been under consideration as a management tool for keeping the elk population under control and for minimizing conflict with ranchers...more

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