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Bison ready for new pastures?
Date:2/27/2014

A new study from the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) demonstrates that it is possible to qualify bison coming from an infected herd as free of brucellosis using quarantine procedures. These bison can then be used to seed conservation herds in other landscapes without the threat of spreading the disease.

In response to Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) guidelines on federal and state bison management actions, the USDA, APHIS Brucellosis Eradication: Uniform Methods and Rules protocol for the quarantine of bison was tested to see if it could successfully be used to qualify the animals as brucellosis-free.

Results of the study indicated that it is feasible to take young bison from an infected population and, using the approved quarantine protocol published as a Federal Uniform Method and Rule (UM &R), qualify them as brucellosis-free in less than three years.

Between 2005 and 2008, more than 200 bison calves of Yellowstone National Park origin were transported to a quarantine facility at Corwin Springs Montana, just outside Yellowstone National Park. During the study, blood samples were collected from the animals every 30-45 days and tested for brucellosis. Those animals that tested positive were euthanized and those remaining were tested until all had two consecutive negative tests. Since the primary mode of brucellosis transmission is via abortion and birthing events, all animals testing negative were held until they produced their first calf and showed no evidence of the disease in newborn calves, birth fluids, or blood.

At that point, the bison were considered brucellosis-free. The study showed that all bison continued to be brucellosis-free over the course of the seven-year study after the initial screening period and through several calving cycles. No evidence of brucellosis was found in either newborn calves or their mothers.

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Contact: Scott Smith
ssmith@wcs.org
718-220-3698
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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