Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Fort Collins, Colorado » Center for Agricultural Resources Research » Rangeland Resources & Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #368886

Research Project: Adaptive Grazing Management and Decision Support to Enhance Ecosystem Services in the Western Great Plains

Location: Rangeland Resources & Systems Research

Title: Two diseases meet at the livestock-wildlife interface: Can we manage for both?

Author
item MALONEY, MATT - UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING
item MERKLE, JEROD - UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING
item AADLAND, DAVID - UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING
item Peck, Dannele
item HORAN, RICHARD - MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY
item MONTEITH, KEVIN - UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING
item FINNOFF, DAVID - UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING
item SIMS, CHARLES - UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE
item SCHUMAKER, BRANT - UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/25/2019
Publication Date: 10/25/2019
Citation: Maloney, M., Merkle, J.A., Aadland, D., Peck, D.E., Horan, R.D., Monteith, K., Finnoff, D., Sims, C., Schumaker, B. 2019. Two diseases meet at the livestock-wildlife interface: Can we manage for both?. Meeting Abstract. Page 29.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: In northwest Wyoming, USA, wild elk (Cervus elaphus) receive supplemental winter forage at 23 official feedgrounds to reduce the transmission risk of bovine brucellosis (Brucella abortus) to cattle that share the landscape. Researchers, wildlife managers, and animal health officials have studied this complex livestock-wildlife disease in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) for decades. They have narrowed the list of epidemiologically and economically sound practices for cattle producers and wildlife managers to consider. Recently, however, brucellosis management has become more complicated due to another disease. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is knocking on the door of Wyoming’s elk feedgrounds. The potential consequences of CWD reaching highly concentrated elk on winter feedgrounds are uncertain but worrisome for people interested in wildlife. Calls to adjust feedground management, to minimize CWD prevalence in elk, have triggered concerns about potential increases in the risk of brucellosis transmission to cattle as unfed elk disperse. These two epidemiologically distinct but economically intertwined diseases will fundamentally alter the costs and benefits of current elk and cattle management strategies. It is unclear if both diseases can be managed in a complimentary way, or if difficult tradeoffs will be involved. A team of scientists and managers developed a bio-epi-nomic model to quantify the economic tradeoffs of alternative management strategies. Results suggest that, upon introduction of CWD to four case-study elk feedgrounds, the combined net benefits of elk hunters and cattle producers will decline if the current elk feeding strategy is continued. While changes in elk management could minimize this decline, the costs of doing so might not be born equally by elk hunters and cattle producers. Therefore, the economically optimal solution might face challenges socially. Insights from our bio-epi-nomic modeling framework can help inform discussions of other multi-disease scenarios at the livestock-wildlife interface.