Emergency permit allows take of infected Alaskan bison
73 FR 50834 / 73 Fed. Reg. 50384 (August 28, 2008)(DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR; Fish and Wildlife Service; WS-R9-IA-2008-N0228; 96300-1671-0000-P5 Emergency Exemption: Issuance of Permit for Endangered Species; Notice of emergency issuance of permit for endangered species).
Wood bison are 10 to 15% heavier than plains bison, making them the largest native land mammal in North America. They are well adapted to northern habitats, having lived in northern meadows and forests for thousands of years. Photo and caption information from Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On August 15, 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a permit (PRT-192748) to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Fairbanks, AK, to take one captive held male wood bison (Bison bison athabascae) for the purpose of scientific research into animal and human health. This action was authorized under Section 10(c) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The Service determined that an emergency affecting the health and life of the Alaska captive held population existed, and that no reasonable alternative was available to the applicant for the following reasons: One seven year old adult male wood bison owned by the State of Alaska and held at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, Girdwood, Alaska, became weak and emaciated, and tested positive for Cryptosporidium, threatening the health of other wood bison in the captive herd and presenting a risk to human health.
KEITHINKING: The environmentally adaptable cryptosporidium parasite triggers severe diarrhea in humans, and if runoff from animal feces reaches a nearby watershed, the parasite can quickly contaminate a public water supply and it will survive the chlorination process. A press release with additional explanation from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is available online.