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Health Team

Officials worry feces at elk refuge could cause problems

Posted March 17

— Biologists at the National Elk Refuge are worried about what the animals they feed are leaving behind.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports (http://bit.ly/2nhWmoS ) that biologists are worried that all the feces at the 39-square-mile U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service preserve could cause health problems for the thousands of elk and hundreds of bison at the refuge.

Biologist Eric Cole says years like this one with high numbers of animals and longer feeding seasons have led to hoof rot and other diseases.

While feces are always a byproduct of animals at the refuge, this year has seen unusually large numbers of elk and bison, meaning they're leaving more behind. This year the official count came in at 8,879 elk — the most since 1997.

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