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Jackson Elk Trapped For State Experiment

February 22, 2013 Jackson Hole, State of Wyoming, Teton County No Comments
wasting

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has begun a multi-year study to evaluate the effectiveness of a vaccine against chronic wasting disease, a neurological disease affecting elk, deer and moose which is usually fatal to the animals. Spokesman Ray Hagaman says the vaccine was developed in Canada as a partnership project by three leading infectious disease centers there.  In January, researchers trapped fifty elk calves at Game and Fish’s South Park Feed Grounds south of Jackson and transported them to the research center near Wheatland.  There, Hagaman says, the calves were split into two groups.  One group was vaccinated, the other was an unvaccinated control group.  Says Hagaman: “Previous research has demonstrated that elk will naturally contract chronic wasting disease by being housed at the unit.  We predict that the vaccinated group will live longer than the control group.”  Hagaman says even if the vaccine does not provide life-long protection, every additional year animals survive will mean increased reproduction within the population.  Hagaman says while administration of the vaccine at the research facility is by hand, if it proves successful, methods of administering the vaccine in the wild to a large number of animals will be explored.

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