Dead elk in Oklahoma – 04/11/2005

  • October 22, 2013 at 12:03 am #665
    By Monica Keen, Staff Writer
    Friday, April 8, 2005 4:19 PM CDT

    Over 25 dead elk discovered on property south of Muldrow has sparked
    an investigation by wildlife officials to determine why the animals

    “It’s an ongoing investigation,” Chief Larry Manering with the
    Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation said Thursday.

    Manering said it was his understanding the Sequoyah County Sheriff’s
    office received a complaint from concerned citizens about dead elk
    that could be seen from the road.

    The sheriff’s office contacted wildlife officials, who started their
    investigation at that time.

    “A search warrant was executed (Tuesday) in regard to what’s going on
    with those dead animals,” Manering said.

    Manering said wildlife personnel, the sheriff’s office, and officials
    with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture are involved in the

    “There’s concern on everybody’s part,” Manering said.

    One of those concerns is Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), which is
    currently a hot topic nationwide, Manering said. He said CWD is one
    of the diseases the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture is testing for
    in this herd of elk.

    “I know we have concerns, as well as the public,” Manering said.

    According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Web site,
    CWD is a degenerative neurological illness affecting farmed and wild
    elk and deer in North America. No other types of animals are affected.

    “Oklahoma has no documentation of any CWD,” Manering said.

    Manering said wild deer are tested each year to make sure there are
    no cases of CWD since CWD would be a detriment to wildlife and the

    Jack Carson, spokesperson for the department of agriculture, said
    according to preliminary findings, over 25 elk were found dead at the

    Carson said agriculture agents took tissue samples from the dead elk,
    and the testing is being done by a USDA lab, which will notify them
    of the results. Carson said he is hoping to hear from the lab
    sometime next week.

    Carson called the testing “very routine.”

    “We automatically test something like that for CWD,” Carson said.

    Carson stressed that all animals are susceptible to many different
    diseases. He said the dead elk could be linked to a parasite problem
    or they could have been aged animals.

    Carson said from his understanding the dead elk were part of a fairly
    sizeable farmed-elk herd, but he did not have a head count.

    “This is standard operating procedures,” he said. “We do this for any
    serious disease.”

    Carson said CWD affects the central nervous system and works like a
    bad parasite. He said it can cause various problems such as
    staggering and emaciation. Carson noted that there is no evidence CWD
    has any impact on human health.

    Carson said the agriculture department’s primary concerns are animal
    health and carcass disposal. He said the department makes sure
    carcasses are buried properly.

    Carson said the wildlife conservation department manages a herd of
    elk in the Cookson Hills area and they have a problem called brain
    worm in that herd, which is responsible for much of elk death there.

    “It’s very possible that’s what we could be looking at with this,”
    Carson said.

    Manering said after their investigation is complete, the district
    attorney’s office will decide if any charges, such as wildlife
    violations, will be filed against the elk owners. He noted that game
    wardens have not written any citations.

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