Anthrax suspected in bison deaths in Mackenzie Bison Range
Yellowknife, N.W.T. - The NWT Department of Environment and Natural Resources has activated the Anthrax Emergency Response Plan after 128 dead bison were found in the Mackenzie Bison Range.
Samples are being sent to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in Lethbridge, Alberta for confirmation, but they are treating it as an anthrax outbreak as a precaution.
ENR's manager of Public Affairs and Communication, Judy McLinton, said the area can only be accessed by boat, but they've still shut it down.
"Right now there is no one in that area and the area will be closed to the public. Until we have dealt with all the carcasses and we are confident there is no longer a concern there, that area is being closed for human health and safety reasons"
McLinton said this would only be the third anthrax outbreak in the Mackenzie Bison Range since records started being kept in 1962, and the first since 1993.
"I would suspect that our conditions are similar to what was in 1993 that summer, and that summer 172 animals died in the Mackenzie Bison Range"
Anthrax spores are found in the soil, and can become airborne when hot, dry weather follows a rainy period.
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