Conservation groups challenge disease-breeding feedground on public lands

JACKSON, Wyoming –– Four conservation groups filed a lawsuit today to challenge the U.S. Forest Service’s authorization of the Alkali Creek elk feedground on the Bridger-Teton National Forest. The high-risk feedlot, run by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, baits and unnaturally concentrates wild Jackson elk in ways that are dangerously unhealthy. “The Jackson Hole elk are part of the region’s history, culture and economy,” said Lloyd Dorsey, Conservation Director of the Sierra Club Wyoming Chapter. “The federal and state agencies are gambling with these animals’ health by forcing the elk to remain mired in unhealthy conditions for months each winter.”
Lethal chronic wasting disease (CWD), an infectious, prion-based disease similar to mad cow disease that affects elk, deer and moose, is spreading across Wyoming into the Yellowstone ecosystem. The disease has been detected in deer within just 40 miles from the Alkali Creek feedground.
“When –not ‘if’– chronic wasting disease arrives at Alkali Creek feedground, it may decimate the Jackson herd within the Forest, on the National Elk Refuge, and in other portions of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem,” said Jonathan Ratner, Wyoming Director of Western Watersheds Project. “Elk feedgrounds are a recipe for disaster.”
“The feedgrounds disrupt the elk’s natural behavior to forage on native habitats, and instead create an artificial environment that is ripe for spreading disease,” said Glenn Hockett, volunteer president of the Gallatin Wildlife Association. “The elk in this region are connected to Yellowstone Park and Montana’s elk herds. Hunters and wildlife watchers depend on these elk. The entire multi-billion dollar wildlife-based economy of the region is at risk from diseases perpetuated from the many elk feedgrounds on public lands,” Hockett said.
“The Forest Service must consider and implement healthier alternatives for managing America’s iconic wildlife herds,” said Roger Hayden, executive director of Wyoming Wildlife Advocates. “Allowing wild elk to roam free in natural abundance with predators keeping herds healthy is the most sustainable paradigm for the future.”

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4 Responses to Harmful elk winter feeding Wyoming draws lawsuit

  1. Ida Lupine says:

    Let’s hope this is finally taken seriously.

  2. Wyoming used to be a great state that cared about all the wonderful wildlife that chooses to abide there. Now, all they care about is tourist dollars or whatever other greed issues could cause them to jeopardize the elk! Disgusting and disappointing in every way!!!

  3. Ida Lupine says:

    “The lack of relationships with citizens who do not hunt or fish can lead to indifference or mistrust that undermines public support for new revenue sources,” the policy group said. “At the same time, the longstanding relationship between agencies and hunters that has fueled conservation for the past century can also create resistance to allowing other interests to help fund state agencies.”

    I remember posting this essay from the Wildlife Institute after the wolf stamp proposal shut-out failure. I’m glad at least some others are considering this now!


June 2017


‎"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