Back from the backcountry

I’m back from the backcountry. I saw a lot of interesting things near the Idaho/Nevada border, especially on the edge of the Owyhee, part of where the giant Murphy fire burned 13 months ago.

Lupine in bloom, NW of Devil Creek in the Owyhee country. June 16, 2008. Copyright © Ralph Maughan.

This photo was not taken where the fire burned, although the fire does not eliminate the lupines, only the sagebrush and bitterbrush (that’s a bad joke). Lupine is poisonous, especially to sheep. It is a nitrogen fixer, closely related to peas. The wonderful smell permeates an area with blooming lupines.

Brucellosis now confirmed in cows near Sublette County, WY elk feedlot

Brucellosis again in Wyoming, and, surprise, surprise, most likely from the nearby elk winter feedlot.

Brucellosis in Montana too, for the first time in a long while. it came from either elk or other cattle.

So what’s the government’s brucellosis policy directed toward? — killing thousands of bison.

Story in the Casper Star Tribune (with usual the typical scare tactics about human and other brucellosis). Tests confirm disease in cows in (WY) cows. By Chris Merrill.

One error that should be pointed out. The articles states: “Personnel at the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory have confirmed that two black Angus cows from one Daniel herd were infected with what scientists call brucella abortus, a bacterium that causes animals such as bison, elk, cattle and swine to abort their fetuses, and can cause undulant fever in humans.” [boldface mine]

There are many kinds of brucellosis. Not just brucellosis abortis. Brucellosis in swine is brucellosis suis, a more dangerous disease. It is spread by feral pigs and its incidence is increasing in the United States because of spread of these non-native animals. Feral pigs, however, have a hunting constituency.

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