Twenty elk test positive for brucellosis
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
January 30, 2008
Of the 184 adult cow elk tested for brucellosis on the Fall Creek elk feedground on Tuesday, 20 had seropositive results, meaning brucella antibodies were detected. Eighteen of these cow elk were sent to a slaughter facility in eastern Idaho. Two others that tested seropositive were killed during the trapping effort after being injured. Tissue samples are being collected from all 20 carcasses for culturing.
The elk are being processed at a federally inspected, private facility in Rigby, Idaho.
Nearly 200 elk were trapped at the Muddy Creek feedground on Wednesday, with 112 cows tested for brucellosis. After all the work was done and the cows were being moved from a small holding pen into the larger pod of the trap for the night, a surge of elk broke open a gate, with about 40 cows escaping back onto the feedground.
The escapees are all wearing rubber collars with individual numbers corresponding to their blood samples, so they can be easily identified. In the past when elk were accidentally released from the trap and determined to be seropositive, the elk were simply shot off the feedlines. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is withholding judgment on the future of the escapees until the lab results are in.