Escaped Elk pose disease risk to Iowa wildlife


 

Photo Credit: nbii.gov

A crew of elk is on the lam in Northern Iowa.

Iowa wildlife officials have killed one elk, and are tracking four more around the Yellow River State Forest that they fear may spread disease to the state’s whitetail deer or livestock.

Officials suspect the elk escaped from a captive herd in Allamakee County.

There have been 48 instances in Iowa since 2007 of elk escaping from captive herds involving 81 animals – an recent increase, said Dale Garner, chief of wildlife with the DNR, in a release.

“Our top concern is for the health of our deer herd and for our domestic livestock,” he said. “Because once chronic wasting disease (CWD) or bovine tuberculosis (TB) is out there, there is no going back. For the most part, there will be no happy ending to this situation.”

CWD is a neurological disease affecting primarily deer and elk.

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