Elk study finds no disease in Pioneer Mountains

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — State wildlife officials say they found no elk with the livestock disease brucellosis during recent testing of the animals in southwest Montana's Pioneer Mountains.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks regional supervisor Pat Flowers said Thursday that 100 elk captured and tested in the Pioneers earlier this winter were brucellosis free.

The disease can cause infected animals to prematurely abort their young. It has been eradicated nationwide except in and around Yellowstone National Park, where brucellosis persists in wildlife such as elk and bison.

Much of the Yellowstone region is within a specially designated surveillance area where cattle ranchers are required to conduct aggressive testing and vaccinations of livestock.

Another round of tests on elk is planned for 2014, possibly in the southern Tobacco Root range.

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