Tag Archives: washington state university

$100,000 RMEF Grant Awarded For WSU Elk Hoof Disease Research Facility

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant to Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine to assist with construction of its elk hoof disease research facility. Construction began in May on campus in Pullman, Washington.

CONSTRUCTION OF A FACILITY FOR RESEARCHERS LOOKING INTO ELK HOOF DISEASE BEGAN THIS PAST MAY AT WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY IN PULLMAN AND FUNDING IN PART CAME FROM A $100,000 GRANT FROM THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION. (HENRY MORE JR., WSU/BCU, VIA RMEF)

“Hoof disease is affecting more and more elk in the Pacific Northwest,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “This facility will give researchers a hands-on opportunity to better determine its cause as well as why and how it spreads.”

The $1.2 million, state-of-the-art structure is the only such operation of its kind in the world and will house captive elk needed to study the disease in a secure, controlled environment. It will cover four acres and include 10 isolation pens, a handling facility and two 1.5-acre holding pastures.

Based within the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, and with the oversight of WSU’s Environmental Health and Safety and animal care programs, the facility will provide optimal compliance with biosecurity and animal care and use regulation.

“I am eager to get started with research on captive elk that will be housed in the facility,” said veterinarian Margaret Wild, the lead scientist for the program. “RMEF’s generous contribution could not have come at a better time during construction. This is the first grant we’ve received to supplement our funding and it makes it apparent the organization and its members, along with WSU, are dedicated to ensuring elk herds remain healthy and viable for future generations.”

Elk hoof disease is known in the scientific community as Treponeme-associated hoof disease or TAHD. Biologists confirmed the disease in elk herds across much of southwest Washington as well as southern Oregon and western Idaho.

Findings from research conducted at the facility will assist wildlife agencies to better manage the impacts of hoof disease in elk populations.

“We had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Margaret Wild, lead scientist during a visit to RMEF headquarters. We look forward to working with her and her staff to learn more about this disease,” added Henning.

RMEF provided funding in the past to assist the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife with hoof disease testing and research.

In 2019 alone, RMEF so far donated more than $1 million in research funding for the benefit of elk-related science.

‘No Abnormalities’ Found In Exam Of Bicyclist-attacking Cougar

THE FOLLOWING IS A WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE PRESS RELEASE

A report by Washington State University (WSU) about the examination of the carcass of the cougar believed to be involved in the death of a bicyclist this spring near North Bend revealed no abnormalities that might have contributed to the animal’s unusual behavior, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) said today.

The report by the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at WSU in Pullman was released today in response to public disclosure requests. The report is available on WDFW’s website athttps://wdfw.wa.gov/news/attach/jul1618a.pdf.

Dr. Kristin Mansfield, WDFW wildlife veterinarian, said the examination produced no significant findings to indicate why the cougar attacked the bicyclist and a companion on May 19.

She said wildlife managers are “highly confident” that the cougar was involved in the incident, because it was found so close to the attack site and because of the relatively low density of cougars in Washington. However, WDFW is awaiting the results of DNA analysis to confirm that conclusion. Those results are expected within the next month, she said.

Mansfield said the cougar was estimated to be about 3 years old. The animal was lean, but its weight and body condition fall within a normal range for a cougar of its age. She said the examination found no indication of rabies or other diseases that would pose a risk to humans.

WSU Wolf, Cougar Researcher Resigning In Settlement

Washington State University and a wolf and cougar researcher there are parting ways under a $300,000 settlement.

Rob Wielgus will resign as part of the deal in which neither party admits wrongdoing following an academic freedom lawsuit filed by the professor and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility against the school.

WSU’S ROB WIELGUS SPEAKS DURING A WOLF SYMPOSIUM. (YOUTUBE)

A brief statement from WSU said the money would come from the state.

Over the years, Wielgus garnered attention with his counterintuitive carnivore studies, and was a darling of wolf advocates with his research that appeared to show killing livestock-depredating wolves just resulted in more attacks.

But other researchers found lethal removals could yield different results, and Wielgus began to fall out of favor with some former allies following his summer 2016 claim that a Northeast Washington livestock producer had turned out his cattle “directly on top” of a wolf den but in fact were released 5 miles away and which led to a stunning rebuke from the university.

Subsequent articles by The Seattle Times detail tensions over Wielgus between ranching and political interests and university officials and programs.

In a PEER press release, Wielgus said WSU’s Large Carnivore Conservation Lab, which he headed up, will close.

PEER claimed that without the professor’s work, “Washington lacks a coherent, science-based wolf management policy.”

The lab’s listed assistant director is now WDFW’s statewide wolf specialist.