Supplemental feeding concerns at National Elk Refuge

BOZEMAN- Two elk have been found seropositive for brucellosis in the Ruby Mountains, showing they were exposed to the disease.

According to Fish, Wildlife and Parks the elk were outside but near the boundary of the Montana Department of Livestock’s Designated Surveillance Area.

The elk were among 100 elk sampled in the Ruby Mountains this year.

Sampling was a part of an ongoing Targeted Elk Brucellosis Surveillance Project.

The Montana Department of Livestock’s Designated Surveillance Area was set up for livestock brucellosis testing and traceability requirements are put in place because of the presence of brucellosis in elk.

Brucellosis is a bacterial disease that infects cattle, bison and elk and can result in abortion or the birth of weak calves according to FWP. The disease is primarily transmitted through contact with infected birth tissues and fluids.

The project’s goal is to determine the presence of the disease in elk and understand the movement patterns of elk populations, research providing data on the overlap between elk and livestock on the landscape.

“The discovery of brucellosis-exposed elk in the Ruby Mountains emphasizes the importance of elk surveillance near the boundary of the DSA,” said Montana State Veterinarian Martin Zaluski. “We appreciate the continued partnership with FWP which helps us identify where livestock are potentially at risk.”

You can learn more about brucellosis and the Targeted Elk Brucellosis Surveillance Project on FWP’s website here.

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