Thursday, August 11, 2016

Montana Proposes Elk Hazing To Check Brucellosis Spread

Montana wildlife officials are proposing to keep elk that have been exposed to disease from mingling with unexposed elk across a wide area north and west of Yellowstone National Park, though they acknowledge that plan has a high possibility of failure. The proposal released by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks adds a new wrinkle to the state's elk management plan in areas with brucellosis, a disease that causes animals to abort their young. Ranchers fear wildlife such as elk and bison will spread the disease to their livestock. Previous versions of the management plan have allowed elk-kill permits, fencing and hazing elk away from cattle in an effort to stem the spread of the disease. The new version also would allow hazing to keep different groups of elk separated near the boundary of a designated brucellosis surveillance area that covers a wide swath of southwestern Montana. The aim is to keep the elk within the surveillance area — about 30,000 animals, according to FWP estimates — from coming into contact with elk from outside the area that are presumed to have no brucellosis exposure...more

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