Please request the National Academy of Sciences conduct a review of wildlife brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area.

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Please request the National Academy of Sciences conduct a review of wildlife brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area.

This petition had 2,125 supporters

Enhancing Montana's Wildlife & Habitat started this petition to National Park Services, Intermountain Regional Director Sue Masica


Protect our wild bison and elk from politics and special interest slaughter. Please request scientific wildlife management for these irreplaceable populations.

Historically, a number of policies involving brucellosis management have not been rooted in responsible science, rather assumptions or politics. For years, APHIS (USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspections Service) has promoted an agenda of brucellosis eradication from the Greater Yellowstone Area, a position which is not socially, humanly, economically and scientifically supported. As a result, by their own statements, millions of federal taxpayer dollars (other sources cite billions*) have been spent on brucellosis eradication. As part of their eradication efforts they targeted Yellowstone National Park bison, on an assumption that the wild bison were the major vectors of brucellosis transmission to cattle. Currently, reports indicate some transmission actually resides with the elk populations. Now that the special interest groups and agencies responding to the APHIS brucellosis eradication in wildlife agenda are aware that it is the elk genotype, which is a small transmission risk threat to cattle, that APHIS eradication machinery is now turning its sights to the elk populations.

USDA APHIS has a long and brutal history of imposing their livestock policies of brucellosis eradication upon our native wildlife populations through various means. Eradication of brucellosis within wildlife populations involves capturing all wildlife (every elk, bison, deer and moose), testing them, and slaughtering all animals that simply test positive for antibodies to exposure. It is important to note that exposure does not necessarily mean infection, as exposed bison and elk can develop an immunity, and pose zero risk of transmission. which can also represent natural and acquired immunities, not strictly infection/infectious.

This eradication within our wildlife could not be achieved in one year. It would require decades of slaughter and vigilance, billions of taxpayer dollars, untold manpower hours and resources, with no guarantee of success.

The livestock disease brucellosis, entered the west with the European settlers and their herds. As a result, wild elk and bison became infected with the bacteria Brucella abortus, which may cause an animal to abort after initial exposure. The majority of subsequent pregnancies are not affected. After over 100 years, this disease has become naturalized in Greater Yellowstone Area wildlife, where natural and acquired immunities continue to evolve with minimal mortality threat to the elk and bison populations.

If exposed to brucellosis, an animal's blood can test positive for brucellosis antibodies, representing immunity, not infection. Currently, there is no test differentiating between an animal that is actually immune and one that is infectious without killing the animal.

The following questions need to be address with science, not politics:

1. What is the actual zoonotic transmission risk of Brucella abortus to humans from brucellosis exposed wildlife? (accounting for the fact that many involved with livestock and wildlife vaccines are the major source of accidental Brucella abortus infections in humans)

2. What is the actual transmission risk to livestock from brucellosis exposed wild bison or wild elk in the Greater Yellowstone Area?

3. What is the environmental impact of the APHIS agenda of eradication of brucellosis in the wildlife, on the GYA states, to the habitat, and to the genetics of the bison and elk populations?

4. Additionally, are the goals and practices of agriculture livestock management compatible with the goals and evolving practices of the conservation sciences that protect and promote the ecological integrity of the GYA states for future generations?

5. Finally, what are the economics of the livestock management model for brucellosis eradication within the wildlife populations of the GYA states?

Current science reports that the transmission risk from wild Yellowstone National Park bison to cattle is 0.0-0.3%, the 0.3% being an academic safety net. No documented case of wild bison to cattle transmission has ever occurred. The genetics of Brucella abortus in wild bison differs from that of elk and cattle, which is almost identical, affecting species transmission.

The same science reports attribute 99.7% - 100% of the risk of brucellosis risk to cattle to elk. Of the 99.7%-100% of the risk that elk pose to cattle, that probability is low due to elk dams segregating themselves during birthing and meticulously cleaning the birth site. Additionally, predators and scavengers remove miscarried fetuses from the landscape, contributing to decreased opportunities for possible transmission to cattle.

Conservation Sciences, not politics and special interests, should be managing our wildlife.

The American Public, citizens of the United States, are owed nothing less, in the stewardship, policies and management of our public trust resources, on behalf of this generation and future generations, than the knowledge and ethical principles of peer-reviewed science.

Please sign this petition, requesting that NPS Intermountain Regional Director Sue Masica, call upon the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a review of wildlife brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area. Thank you.

* Brucellosis in the United States; Past, present, and future, R. I. Wise, 1980; A Risk Analysis of Brucella abortus Transmission Among Bison, Elk, and Cattle in the Northern Greater Yellowstone Area, Technical Report to the National Park Service, 2010; Efficacy of Dart or Booster Vaccination with Strain RB51 in Protecting Bison against Experimental Brucella abortus Challenge, Steve Olsen, 2012.

For More Information:

Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area

Letter from Jackson Hole, WY ranchers, hunters and conservationists stating," We ask you to understand that the real threat to our interests are the proposals originating from and/or driven by APHIS and the unfounded premise that brucellosis poses a real threat to man and beast."

Petition Closed

This petition had 2,125 supporters