Group wants action on elk hoof disease

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first_imgState wildlife officials were told Wednesday that letting the elk hoof disease outbreak in Southwest Washington just run its course is unacceptable and something must be tried to slow or contain the ailment.However, what’s needed or can be done is the big question, given there’s no answer to what’s causing the affliction.The agency’s Hoof Disease Public Working Group met for the second time in Vancouver. The panel includes county commissioners, academics, timber company representatives, state and federal land managers, businessmen and representatives of sportsmen’s and conservation organizations.Sporadic reports of lame elk or elk with overgrown or missing hooves in the Cowlitz River basin began in the mid-1990s.Since 2008, reports of elk with hoof disease have increased and spread west to Pacific County, north to Lewis County and south to Clark County. Due to the rapid increase in sightings since 2008, scientists believe a new disease may have entered the elk population.The working group agreed Wednesday that a no-action alternative is no good.“WDFW did this with hair loss (syndrome) on deer and they haven’t recovered,” said Daniel Cothren, a Wahkiakum County commissioner. “Are we going that same path with this? It finally kind of ran its course, but the deer population isn’t recovering.”Letting the hoof disease run its course was one of four options the Department of Fish and Wildlife identified. The others include reducing the density of the elk population, trying to contain the disease to its current geographical reach or trying treatments to increase the elk’s immunity and/or improve nutrition.last_img

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