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Montana News

Montana Wildlife Commission Approves Brucellosis Work Plan

A major study released Wednesday now says elk – not bison - are the primary source of new brucellosis infections in Greater Yellowstone Area cattle.
Flickr User Ian Sane CC-BY-2.0
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Montana Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Gary Wolfe says wildlife should not be managed like livestock. That’s why he joined the rest of the commission this week in rejecting a proposal to haze diseased elk away from healthy herds.

Wolfe compares the idea to animal husbandry:

"When you’re dealing with domestic animals it’s common that you round up animals. You move them. You drive them from pasture to pasture. You keep this herd of sheep or goats or cattle separate from another herd of sheep or cattle."

The Fish and Wildlife Commission Thursday unanimously voted down the idea.

"Those elk are on the landscape 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. There’s just no way that you can reasonably expect human hazing is going to keep those animals separate from each other," Wolfe says.

The commission gave tentative approval to a brucellosis work plan. Wolfe says it emphasizes separation of elk and cattle during the brucellosis transmission period.

It now goes out for public review and comment.

The commission will take final action at its October meeting.

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