MISSOULA – State veterinarians in Montana have been sent to examine bison carcasses north of Yellowstone National Park amid fears the bison might have acquired a deadly disease from domestic sheep.
Pat Flowers of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks tells the Independent Record that a veterinarian from his agency and the state Department of Livestock this weekend hoped to do necropsies on the bison. At least two bison and possibly four or more have been found dead in the last week.
The Gallatin Wildlife Association said state officials should check for the presence of malignant catarrhal fever that can be transferred from domestic sheep to bison, cattle, deer and moose.
“There are dead bison and we don’t know why,” said the association’s Kathryn QannaYahu. “The ones in the river didn’t have any obvious cuts or scrapes. We just want this to be investigated because we don’t want to see an outbreak of malignant catarrhal fever.”
Two dead bison were found near rental cabins in the Beattle Gulch area. One was in the river and the other near it. Another was spotted off Highway 89, and QannaYahu said hikers found more inside the park’s north border.