Appeals courts says elk feeding is not illegal, but risky-

This issue is closely related to the Wyoming wolf plan story because Wyoming just loves feeding elk, and dragging along the federal government to feed them too

Conservation groups appealed the loss in their effort to stop elk and bison feeding on the National Elk Refuge. The court said that Secretary Salazar was not required to set a date to stop this long standing practice. However, they did give the feeding a tongue-lashing. The appeals count panel wrote “The whole point of a National Elk Refuge is to provide a sanctuary in which populations of healthy, reproducing elk can be sustained, but “The refuge can hardly provide such a sanctuary if, every winter, elk and bison are drawn by the siren song of human-provided food to what becomes, through the act of gathering, a miasmic zone of life-threatening diseases.”

Here are the details from the Jackson Hole Daily, Court says feeding risky.  By Cory Hatch

 

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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.

4 Responses to Conservationists. Half a win; half a loss on National Elk Refuge elk feeding

  1. The Elk Refuge was established to mitigate the loss of elk wintering areas due to human developments in Jackson Hole.
    I am one who thinks that feeding elk in this instance is a good idea.

  2. avatar Ralph Maughan says:

    Larry Throngren,

    There is a bit more to this issue than the Elk Refuge making up for the loss of the wintering areas near Jackson due to settlement.

    In fact the judges pointed to the irony of the situation — intended to make up for lost habitat, but the refuge becomes a place of massive disease transmission.

    • avatar jb says:

      Ralph: I know the risk of disease transmission increases in this setting, but has disease prevalence actually increased in elk that winter in the sanctuary? Just wondering if there is data?

      • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

        JB,

        There are probably data existing that can be compiled to look for a trend, although you have to realize that only disease that manifests on the Refuge during the winter is observable. The most important disease may be those transmitted but not obvious. I am thinking of brucellosis and CWD.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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