Environment and Natural Resources officials said they are cautiously optimistic that the anthrax outbreak among bison in the Slave River Lowlands may be over.
Ella Stinson, an ENR spokesperson, said 45 bison carcasses have been located within the eight kilometer area since the outbreak was first detected in June. Two carcasses were located recently, though they had been dead for a period of time, Stinson said.
“They’re not new ones,” she told The Hub on Friday. “The fact that these two are old is leading us to believe it is (winding down).”
All the carcasses have been incinerated on site, Stinson explained. The surrounding soil was also treated with a sterilant.
The animals are believed to have contracted the disease either by grazing on contaminated sedges or by kicking up contaminated dust.
The area, which is located 80 kilometers southeast of Fort Resolution, is only accessible by boat or ATV. Stinson said surveillance flights over the affected area are expected to end sometime this week, after which time officials might declare the outbreak over.
There have been 14 outbreaks of anthrax in the Slave River Lowlands and Wood Buffalo National Park between 1962 and 2007.