Environment
South Slave

Bison anthrax outbreak is slowing, Parks Canada says


An outbreak of anthrax among Wood Buffalo National Park’s bison has “slowed down” in recent days, Parks Canada says.

A national incident management team brought in last week to help dispose of carcasses has now finished its work. No new carcasses have been reported in the past week.

Alice Will, the park’s bison project management lead, said a total of 59 carcasses previously reported was now being re-evaluated and may in fact be closer to 50.

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“The weather has been co-operating with us,” Will told Cabin Radio on Wednesday. “We’ve had temperatures in the low 20s, some rain, and cool conditions, which generally means less anthrax.

“We did have a national team deployed last week to assist in burning 10 carcasses close to visitor facilities in Sweetgrass. Yesterday, the team left and handed operations back to the national park.

“We’re just wrapping up those operations and hopefully we won’t have any more anthrax carcasses in the park or near visitor facilities. But we’re keeping a close eye on all of that.”

Staff responding to an anthrax outbreak among bison hold a morning meeting at a Parks Canada base in Fort Smith
Staff responding to an anthrax outbreak among bison hold a morning meeting at a Parks Canada base in Fort Smith. D McIntosh/Parks Canada

Closures remain in place around Sweetgrass, Trident Creek, Trident Meadows and Peace Point West Junction. Aerial and ground monitoring continues.

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“So far, occurrences are in remote areas of the park and we don’t foresee any risk to the public,” said Will.

“Things have slowed down and things are looking good.”

If you see dead animals or animals showing signs of illness in the park, you’re asked not to approach them but to call the park’s duty officer at (867) 872-0404.

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