Elk-Brucellosis Discussion in Bozeman January 17

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks logoMontana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will host a half-day discussion on the Montana State University campus in Bozeman, Saturday, Jan. 17, on topics related to the transmission of brucellosis from elk to cattle in southwestern Montana.

FWP has assembled a diverse group of experts to discuss brucellosis in elk, disease genetics, and livestock investigation techniques and processes. A panel discussion among presenters will be facilitated by Dr. Mike Mitchell, leader of the University of Montana’s Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit.

“FWP has heard from some constituents about providing more information on the science that identifies elk as one possible source of brucellosis infection in cattle in parts of southwestern Montana,” said Jeff Hagener, director of FWP in Helena. “In response, we’ve assembled this presentation to illustrate that science.”

The session is designed to describe, inform and discuss data addressing the potential for some elk in southwestern Montana to infect livestock with brucellosis, a disease that can cause some pregnant bison, elk and domestic cattle to abort their first calf.

The talks are open to the public and are set for 8:30 a.m.—Noon on Jan. 17 at 101 Gaines Hall on the MSU campus. For a full agenda visit FWP online at fwp.mt.gov; click “Fish & Wildlife”, then click “Elk“.

Comment Period Opens on DSA Boundary Adjustment; Public Meeting Set for July 2

DSA-map2_closeupPublic comment on expanding the state’s Designated Surveillance Area (DSA) for brucellosis to include a 365-square mile chunk of land between Norris and Three Forks (see map) opened late last week.

The Montana Board of Livestock at its last meeting approved putting the proposal out for review after learning that 10 of 60 elk in the corresponding elk hunting district (HD311) recently tested positive for exposure to brucellosis. State veterinarian Dr. Marty Zaluski said brucellosis-positive elk were not previously known to exist in the area, which is home to about 50 cattle producers and 12,000 head of cattle.

Created in 2010 with extensive input from the livestock industry and USDA-APHIS, the four-county (Beaverhead, Gallatin, Madison and Park) DSA is designed to prevent the spread of brucellosis and protect the marketability of Montana cattle. Cattle within the DSA are subject to additional testing, vaccination and identification requirements.

If approved, the boundary adjustment would be the third since the DSA was implemented in January 2010. Other adjustments occurred when brucellosis-positive elk where found in 2011 and 2012 on the western edge of the DSA in Beaverhead County.

The department will host a public meeting at 10 a.m. on July 2 at Headwaters Livestock Auction in Three Forks to discuss the proposal. Public comment will be accepted at the meeting, or can be submitted via email at MDOLcomments@mt.gov or via US postal mail at Christian Mackay, 301 N. Roberts St., Room 308, P.O. Box 202001, Helena, MT 59620-2001.

The public comment period closes July 12.