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Wyoming elk refuge steps up chronic wasting disease testing

In this Aug. 15, 1997, file photo, visitors at Yellowstone National Park look at a family of elk grazing in the meadows of the park in Wyoming. (Kevork Djansezian / AP)
In this Aug. 15, 1997, file photo, visitors at Yellowstone National Park look at a family of elk grazing in the meadows of the park in Wyoming. (Kevork Djansezian / AP)
Associated Press

JACKSON, Wyo. – An elk refuge in Wyoming will now require hunters to participate in a program to monitor the spread of a deadly wildlife disease.

Officials at the National Elk Refuge announced Friday that starting Sunday, hunters must turn over the heads of elk they kill for disease testing. Up to now, participation in the monitoring program was voluntary.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department recently detected chronic wasting disease in a mule deer killed by a vehicle in nearby Grand Teton National Park.

The detection raises concern the disease could spread rapidly at several western Wyoming feedgrounds where elk are given food pellets to help them survive the winter.

Humans aren’t known to get chronic wasting disease but officials encourage hunters to test game meat from affected areas as a precaution.

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