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Mystery surrounds death of entire elk herd

Posted on Saturday, 7 September, 2013 | Comment icon 18 comments

Investigators remain baffled by the incident. Image Credit: CC 2.0 Linda Tanner

Officials are investigating what could have killed more than 100 elk at a ranch in New Mexico.

The alarm was raised when reports of dead elk at a ranch north of Las Vegas reached authorities last week. More than 100 of the animals were believed have died within as little as 24 hours under circumstances that continue to baffle investigators.

The animals were discovered across the 75,000-acre ranch on August 27th and did not show any signs of gunshot wounds. Tissue samples sent away for analysis have also ruled out the possibility of poisoning.

In his investigation of the case, wildlife disease specialist Kerry Mower maintains that while disease is a possibility, the circumstances seem to rule it out as only some of the animals would be likely to have become sick. "This really is quite an event to have so many animals die so abruptly," he said.

Many residents of the area have expressed concerns over whether it's safe to eat elk in the wake of the incident and if whatever killed them could be a danger to humans. "It is kind of scary," said Las Vegas hunter Max Trujillo. "If in fact it is something coming from a fly or insect and it is airborne, it can be carried for miles."

Source: Santa Fe New Mexican | Comments (18)

Tags: Mystery Deaths

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #9 Posted by highdesert50 on 8 September, 2013, 12:57
CDW or chronic wasting disease is a fatal infectious agent that has affected herds of elk, particularly in the abutting state of Colorado.
Comment icon #10 Posted by pateriot on 8 September, 2013, 12:58
Probably toxic gas released from the ground. This can happen on rare occasion from lakes when the bottom releases trapped methane or CO2. It can also happen if their is an earthquake or at a volcanic site. The Elks who were lying down at the time could have been overcome by the fumes while the ones that were standing, and thus further from the ground at the time, remained largely unaffected.
Comment icon #11 Posted by R4z3rsPar4d0x on 8 September, 2013, 16:24
It is interesting though
Comment icon #12 Posted by Sundew on 11 September, 2013, 23:33
Possibly, but if that is the case there would likely be other dead animal species found also.
Comment icon #13 Posted by stereologist on 13 September, 2013, 10:38
I found the following That was posted Aug 29th
Comment icon #14 Posted by moonshadow60 on 13 September, 2013, 19:25
Thank you, Stereologist. It seems epizootic hemorrhagic disease is the suspected cause.
Comment icon #15 Posted by AsylumSpirit on 14 September, 2013, 4:53
Sounds like the military.
Comment icon #16 Posted by stereologist on 18 September, 2013, 13:21
Looked for updates on this event, but found nothing.
Comment icon #17 Posted by Rlyeh on 18 September, 2013, 16:04
They were at war with them?
Comment icon #18 Posted by stereologist on 7 November, 2013, 22:52
The elk killer turns out to be a neurotoxin in pond scum.

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