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Emerging Threat to Bison

While much attention has been focused on diseases in livestock, much less is known about disease threats to animals in the wild. A serious issue for cattle ranchers is the spread of Brucellosis in bison to domestic livestock. Brucellosis causes aborted fetuses, production loss in cattle, and undulant fever in people, however, the impact on bison populations do not have a substantial effect.  What is severe however is pneumonia.  The organism, mycoplasma pneumonia can kill upwards of 40-60% of domestic bison and cattle and is the most imminent threat to wild bison herds.  

VIEW's Involvment

VIEW partnered with local agencies in the Rocky Mountains to examine archived blood samples, taken over a 20-year period from 200 bison. Our findings are the first step in understanding the presence and history of diseases, especially the ones that can be transferred between wild and domestic herds. And that can have a significant impact on the bison population.

The data of this study will further our understanding of current and imminent health risks and be used to proactively develop health management policies and protocols with the goal of minimizing or eliminating any harmful impact on the bison populations.

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