Montana Commission Considers Elk Reductions to Curb Disease

By Beacon Staff

BILLINGS — Montana wildlife commissioners will weigh in for the first time Monday on a broad plan to protect against animal disease around Yellowstone by reducing the size of some elk herds, hazing them away from livestock and building elk-proof fences.

Those are some of the proposals to curb the spread of the disease brucellosis offered by a state-sponsored citizens working group.

If wildlife commissioners adopt the group’s recommendations it would open the plan to public comment.

Brucellosis has been eliminated elsewhere in the country but persists in wildlife in and around Yellowstone National Park.

Bison leaving the park are periodically slaughtered to prevent infections in cattle.

But the region’s approximately 100,000 elk are more loosely managed, and numerous elk-to-cattle transmissions occurred over the last decade in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

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