CWD UPDATE 72 March 14, 2006

Everyone probably has heard of the third positive for BSE in the U. S. This one was in an Alabama Santa Gertrudis cow that was 10 years old or older, meaning that it was born before the feed ban. Epidemiology of the animal is being investigated and none of the cow entered the human or animal food chain. It is interesting to note that when the first positive BSE was found in the U. S., the evening news devoted 15 minutes to the story. Last night on the National news, there was about 5 seconds devoted to the story.

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish euthanized eight free-ranging but apparently captive-bred elk discovered on private ranch lands near Clayton, New Mexico recently. The action was necessary to prevent the potential transmission of chronic wasting disease, brucellosis, bovine tuberculosis, and other diseases to wild elk and livestock in the vicinity according to the agency. Necropsies of the animals are being conducted at the State Veterinary Laboratory and the animals will be tested for all wildlife and livestock diseases. The five adult elk among the eight euthanized had holes in their ears indicating that at one time they had carried ear tags. The animals were also very tame and not afraid of people. The investigation into the appearance of these animals is continuing. New Mexico currently has very strict regulations on the importation of elk. The elk were removed from the wild with the full cooperation of the landowners where the elk were found.

The owners of two private elk hunting parks were indicted by a Cibola County, New Mexico Grand Jury on a total of 41 felony and misdemeanor charges in connection with an alleged operation to illegally drug and transport wild elk, and for allegedly receiving stolen bighorn sheep heads. Owners of the Lobo Canyon Ranch north of Grants, New Mexico were charged with several felonies, including receiving stolen property, transportation of stolen livestock, and tampering with evidence. They are accused of illegally moving as many as four state-owned elk from the Lobo Canyon Ranch to the Pancho Peaks ranch and game park in southeastern New Mexico in 2002. The owner of Pancho Peaks ranch was indicted on two felony counts of conspiracy in connection with his alleged role in acquiring or providing the animal tranquilizer, xylazine hydrochloride and its reversal agent, yohimbine. “These are serious crimes that we intend to vigorously prosecute,” Cibola County District Attorney Lemuel Martinez said. “We need to send a strong message that we won’t tolerate it when people try to illegally transport, drug and profit from wildlife that is owned by the citizens of New Mexico.” If convicted, those charged face a maximum 33-year jail term on nine felony charges.