Sick elk in Sugar City harvested out of concern for local cattle

Elk Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Idaho Fish and Game is hunting and killing elk in the Sugar City area due to the potential spread of brucellosis.

Despite Fish and Game’s best efforts to relocate them, a group of about 30 elk consistently mingle with cattle near Sugar City, putting the cattle — and humans that consume the products from that cattle — at risk of brucellosis.

According to the CDC, brucellosis is a bacterial disease that is most commonly transported from animals to humans through unpasteurized dairy products. Brucellosis can cause fevers, headaches, joint pain, fatigue and more. It rarely causes death, but symptoms can last several months and may come back on a recurring basis.

Brucellosis is particularly common in elk and bison in the Greater Yellowstone Area, according to a Fish and Game press release.

Fish and Game established a feeding site with the intention of drawing elk away from both ranch areas and highways — a measure that has proven successful in recent years. This group of elk, however, keeps returning to the same area and mingling with the cattle.

As a last resort Fish and Game has begun harvesting the elk and donating the meat to families in need. At this point in time, Fish and Game has harvested 13 elk.

For more information, see the Fish and Game press release.