15 bison dead in N.W.T. in suspected anthrax outbreak

Bison laying in wallows as seen from a surveillance flight. Bison contract anthrax from dust spores inhaled while taking dust baths. (Submitted by A Erasmus, Parks Canada.)

Fifteen bison carcasses were found between June 30 and July 3 in the Slave River Lowlands between Fort Smith and Fort Resolution. 

In a news release Tuesday, the N.W.T. government said it suspects an outbreak of anthrax is behind the deaths, which were discovered over the long weekend.

The government said it’s now focused on detecting other cases as quickly as possible through aerial and ground surveys.

A team will also either incinerate the infected carcasses or use chemicals to dispose of them as well as grass where the animals were found.

The goal is to prevent the release of anthrax spores into the ground.

Anthrax outbreaks are common in bison populations. Animals usually become infected by inhaling or ingesting spores in the soil.

Last year, about 60 animals died in an outbreak in Wood Buffalo National Park.

Anthrax can be transferred to humans through direct contact, though it’s very rare.

Still, the department of Environment and Climate Change says residents should not hunt bison in the South Slave region until further notice.

Residents can also report dead bison to 867-872-6438.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: ‘They shouldn’t be in the community’: Fort Liard resident sounds alarm over bison herds, CBC News

Finland: NGOs seek stricter fishing rules to protect Finland’s endangered Saimaa seals, Yle News

Greenland: Oldest Arctic sea ice vanishes twice as fast as rest of region, study shows, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: In Arctic Norway, seabirds build nests out of plastic waste, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russian Arctic town overrun by polar bears, CBC News

Sweden: Warnings in Sweden about dangerous bacteria in Baltic Sea, Radio Sweden

United States: Heat stress that caused Alaska salmon deaths a sign of things to come, scientist warns, CBC News

CBC News

For more news from Canada visit CBC News.

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.
Netiquette »

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *