The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will host a public webinar regarding brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area.
According to a press release, the webinar (scheduled for 9 a.m. MST Wednesday, May 31, 2017) will coincide with the release of a new report, Revisiting Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area. The report is an update of the Academies’ 1998 publication on brucellosis.
Caused by the Brecella abortus pathogen, brucellosis is a worry for cattle ranchers since it causes cows to abort their young and requires costly quarantine protocol. Some herds may even be liquidated.
Brucellosis is, of course, a contentious topic in Yellowstone National Park, especially as it pertains to bison. For many years, bison were feared as vectors of the disease, although there have been no documented instances of bison-to-cattle transmission. A growing body of research shows elk are more likely to transmit the disease. Nonetheless, bison bear the brunt of brucellosis worries.
Under an agreement with the state of Montana, Yellowstone, as well as several federal, state and tribal entities, has to ship a certain number of bison to slaughter.
The Interagency Bison Management Plan, in effect since 2000, has faced pushback from Yellowstone biologists who say it’s outdated. It’s also faced long-standing opposition from conservationists and bison advocates who want an end to slaughter.
Attempts to reform/modernize the IBMP have stalled in recent years, with partner agencies arguing over which direction to take the program.
With the release of the Academies’ reports, IBMP partner agencies may have more to discuss as they plan for the future.