First case of “mad elk” (chronic wasting disease) in the Greater Yellowstone area-

Not surprisingly there a several Wyoming Game and Fish winter feedlots in this valley near the Idaho border for keeping elk like livestock and feeding them in the winter.

Moose in Star Valley tests positive for chronic wasting disease. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

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For more information about CWD in North America, visit the CWD Alliance Web site.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

10 Responses to Terrible news !! Moose in Star Valley, Wyoming tests positive for chronic wasting disease

  1. avatar Jeff says:

    Now that WY G&F has released news of a moose with CWD in the GYE it is clear what the intent of their press release earlier in the week was all about. WY G&F released an article that ran in the Casper Star Tribune this week that suggested an outbreak of CWD on a feedground wouldn’t necessarily be devastating…Now this news is announced on a weekend no less…straight out of the Bush political machine. Game and Fish is clearly trying to set the stage to maintain the staus quo in the face of a disaster.

  2. A question of ignorance – do moose feed from the grounds? Or, is this evidence that the moose got it from an animal that does?

    This is indeed awful news.

  3. avatar Jeff says:

    Jim-Moose do not feed at feedgrounds per se. Moose generally eat twigs, willows, saplings etc…the feedgrounds feed hay only. The feedgrounds that I have visited are small for the number of animals present and typically this mean little in the way of browse after years of feeding elk. Elk can browse the same as moose, but they can also graze grasses like cattle. There are a number of moose on the South Park Feedground here in Teton County as this feedground is adjacent to the Snake River and encompasses a large riparian zone with lots of cottonwoods, the Dog Creek feedground half way between Jackson and Alpine is similar to the South Park Feedground as it too is adjacent to the Snake RIver. The feedground just south of Alpine Wyoming doesn’t look a whole lot different than a feedlot in Kansas

  4. avatar vicki says:

    I thought CWD was spread through feces. So if the feces of an deseased animal was on the ground, and a moose were to eat vegatation that had been defacated on, could it have gotten it?
    Colorado has beed dealing with CWD for several years, and tells hunters that they should handle game with protective clothing and wear gloves at all times. They confiscate animals heads for testing. There has been no real progress in combating the spread.
    They had at first thought that the population effected was isolated enoughthat it wouldn’t be a problem. Obviously they thought wrong.
    This is the consequence of messing with Mother Nature.
    We have to stop. Close feedlots, let predators do their job.

    This could effectively destroy the majority of ungulates in the GYE and beyond. Especially if we allow the desease to fester in the feedlots and then allow obscene numbers of animals to travel into and then out of the feedlots.

    Could you imagine a situation where the elk traveling into feedlots had to be euthenized in order to end possible transmission and spreading of the desease. Thousands of dead elk equals thousands of irate hunters. So maybe they’ll listen then, and see the validity of biologists arguments that we should bring the predator vs. prey base back to a helathier balance. I hope it doesn’t have to come to that.

  5. avatar john weis says:

    vicki, CWD is likely not spread thru feces but from spit, blood, and other body secretions. The prion is taken up from sharing spit (foaming) during fighting, or other such activities, or saliva left on food. Once ingested the prion is taken up in the intestine, transduced into the bloodstream, and it eventually makes it to the nerves and brain.

  6. avatar vicki says:

    so then, it might be safe to assume this transmission was from food?
    now you would think ranchers would be more concerned about this than their bogus brucellosis claims.
    I may look further into this, as it parralels CJD, and mad cow desease. Both are tested post mortem, and it is questioned if they can be passed to himans through consumption. You cannot even donate blood in the USA if you eat beef in certain places because they cannot exclude exposure from cattle.
    I wonder why the USA is so lax on exposure? If the CDOW is so concernded that they tell you not to handle game, why wouldn’t they want cows that may end up at market to be kept from exposure on public lands?

  7. avatar vicki says:

    p.s. I have actually read ( I think) that they did think fecal may be a factor. http://www.cwd-info.org

  8. avatar vicki says:

    appearantly there has been some interest in certifying cattle herds cwd free. how would they ever do that? they could only do it if they tested every cow after death, and even then, they couldn’t be certain the cow was cwd free, as the test is done on brain tissue, but cwd can be spread (appearantly) before effecting the brain tissue.
    Ugh, TMI to absorb.
    SO unless they contained all cattle, and kept them exposure free-which would end free ranging cattle-they would never know.

  9. avatar john weis says:

    Vicki, the feces route seems to always be lumped as a possible means of transmission although it is not clear how valid that is. TSE’s like CWD amplify during an infection from the host cell prion protein. It is that amplified, denatured protein that presumably kills the neurons by screwing up their protease recycling machinery. The major sites of amplification are in the blood stream and on neurons themselves. But when you think of E coli or Salmonella infections, these bugs are growing and dividing in the gut itself so the shit is loaded with the microbes. That is the usual idea of fecal infections.

    of course, release of TSE’s from saliva or nasal secretions into the gut (or amplification on the surface of the gut epithelial cells themselves) could shed TSE’s in the feces which could then be picked up. I guess I would like to see an experiment where they fed mice or sheep shit from scrapie infected animals to really test the infectivity of it. i haven’t seen such a study but it may exist.

  10. I want to call attention to one of the web sites I have on my blogroll. I can it “How now, mad cow. . . .”

    Most of the news is about mad cow disease, but there is also news about chronic wasting disease.

    http://www.organicconsumers.org/madcow.cfm

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