Aug 24, 2015

Game and Fish wants input on managing brucellosis in local elk

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is looking for feedback on a new plan aimed at slowing the spread of brucellosis in parts of Park and Big Horn counties.

The department will host a public meeting next week on its draft brucellosis management action plan for the Clarks Fork elk herd. The meetings starts at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the basement of Cody's Big Horn Federal Bank.

“The Clarks Fork (plan) outlines strategies for minimizing the risk of brucellosis transmission from elk to elk and from elk to cattle,” said Wildlife Management Coordinator Tim Woolley in a news release. “Attending the meeting will provide an opportunity to learn what steps Game and Fish is taking on strategies to reduce elk-elk and elk-cattle transmission of the disease and provide input on the draft plan for this elk herd.”

A map of the Clarks Fork Elk Herd Unit from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
The Clarks Fork Elk Herd Unit runs between the North Fork of the Shoshone River/Sunlight Creek Divide north to the Montana state line, and the area west of the Bighorn River and north of U.S. Highway 14-16-20 to the Yellowstone National Park boundary. It contains hunt areas 51, 53, and 54 and, in the average winter, roughly 3,700 elk.

Creating management plans was one of the top recommendations from the governor’s Brucellosis Coordination Team a panel of cattle producers, scientists, wildlife professionals, veterinarians, and lawmakers who were assembled in 2004. They made multiple recommendations aimed at reclaiming and retaining class-free brucellosis status for Wyoming’s cattle.

Brucellosis is a bacterial disease, primarily found in elk and bison, that can cause animals to abort their young. The disease can infect and harm people, but the more common concern is its spread to cattle.

Representatives from the Wyoming Livestock Board and/or USDA-APHIS-Veterinary Services plan to attend Tuesday's meeting. They'll offer input on the management options, discuss the brucellosis Designated Surveillance Area and answer any technical questions.

The draft Clarks Fork elk herd brucellosis management action plan is available online.

Big Horn Federal Bank is located at 1701 Stampede Ave.

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