1905 Montana legislature's action spread mange throughout Montana and Wyoming

Billings Gazette reporter Mike Stark has finally done the needed spade work to come up with the story of how mange was spread into the canid population of the area, including now one wolf pack in Yellowstone.

Mange threatening wolves. By Mike Stark. Billings Gazette.



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  1. Peter Kiermeier Avatar

    They have no readers comments posted yet. But wait a few hours, scroll down and you´ll have a freak show going on there.

  2. Buffaloed Avatar

    Mange, or something similar, is affecting elk here in the Gardiner area this winter as well. There are a few carcasses in the Eagle Creek area that appear to have died from exposure during the cold snap we had in January and parts of February.

  3. Denise Johnson Avatar
    Denise Johnson

    This excellent investigative reporter hit this head on…KUDOS to him. Am looking forward to the comments too!
    Back in February someone mention this theory and I thought I’d heard of this too. So what is a conspiracy theory when it has been proved?
    When I was at the delisting meeting in SLC I posed this question to Ed Bangs. Why is it acceptable for wolves to die from diseases. But not Bison and Elk?
    Answer: Because wolves have all the diseases of their domestic counterparts.
    So I pointed out that in 2005 Yellowstone Packs lost 80% of their pups to parvo/distemper which reduced the population over 30% overall in one season. He concurred and said that the population has recovered, and that it was a temporary set back. He never addressed why brucellosis was not acceptable in elk and bison. So I still don’t get it!
    So if mange was used as biological warfare against the wolves and coyotes of MT, and was introduced into the area why is it acceptable?
    Any ideas??

  4. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    This may be just my imagination but the whole area above Gardiner and between Gardiner and Jardine seems a bit creepy.

    I have never seen as many wood ticks as in the brush adjacent to those travertine quarries above Gardiner. Truly gross!! I also note that the wolf pack that formed in Eagle Creek died out due to mange.

  5. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Your comment certainly makes sense to me.

    The politics of disease, including wildlife diseases, are just as intense and contradictory as the politics of human disease.
    – – – –

    I think Mollies Pack should be trapped and treated, or alternatively put down.

    Mange is not a native disease, and it is treatable. An effort should be made to keep the Park free of it.

    Had it been known that the cattle they brought to Yellowstone in the early days were infected with brucellosis, they would have certainly done something about it then. Now it is too late, at least until an effective vaccine is developed that can be delivered without capturing the elk and bison. I should add that the ultimate solution to the brucellosis problem is the elimination of the concentration of elk at the feedgrounds to the south in Wyoming. Politics prevents effectively dealing with that too.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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