Could predators help combat chronic wasting disease?
As Montana struggles to check chronic wasting disease among big-game animals like deer, elk and moose, some experts suggest increased predator protections as a potential solution.
“Not just wolves but also mountain lions have been shown to be pretty effective at selecting and taking prey that’s disadvantaged or disabled, and that includes those with CWD,” said Norman Bishop, a retired wolf interpreter at Yellowstone National Park.
Studies show that wolves and mountain lions can detect and target diseased animals that are not visibly sick.
The state has planned a number of controlled hunts to target chronic wasting disease, but Bishop noted that Wisconsin tried and failed with this approach.
“It simply didn’t work,” he said. “And so you simply have to doubt that any similar effort using hunters will be effective, based on Wisconsin’s experience.”
Montana has an ongoing survey hunt that lasts through Feb. 15.