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Mystery surrounds death of entire elk herd

By T.K. Randall
September 7, 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)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #9 Posted by highdesert50 9 years ago
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 9 years ago
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 9 years ago
It is interesting though
Comment icon #12 Posted by Sundew 9 years ago
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. Possibly, but if that is the case there would likely be other dead animal species found also.
Comment icon #13 Posted by stereologist 9 years ago
I found the following http://www.petersenshunting.com/2013/08/29/new-mexico-elk-herd-mysteriously-dies-off/ According to the Albuquerque Journal, officials say it could range from poison to blue tongue disease, but the chief suspect right now is epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD).Usually found in whitetails, EHD is a viral disease transmitted strictly from insect bites; it cannot be passed directly from one elk to another. Infected animals first lose their appetites about seven days after contracting EHD. The animals become progressively weaker and salivate excessively, and develop a high pul... [More]
Comment icon #14 Posted by moonshadow60 9 years ago
Thank you, Stereologist. It seems epizootic hemorrhagic disease is the suspected cause.
Comment icon #15 Posted by AsylumSpirit 9 years ago
Sounds like the military.
Comment icon #16 Posted by stereologist 9 years ago
Looked for updates on this event, but found nothing.
Comment icon #17 Posted by Rlyeh 9 years ago
Sounds like the military. They were at war with them?
Comment icon #18 Posted by stereologist 9 years ago
The elk killer turns out to be a neurotoxin in pond scum. http://news.yahoo.com/culprit-mysterious-elk-deaths-found-175716999.html


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