Elk NetworkRMEF Honored for Helping Elk, Ranchers Co-Exist

General | February 2, 2024

PERC CEO Brian Yablonski (left) presents award to RMEF Chief Conservation Officer Blake Henning

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation recently received recognition for its efforts to help the ranching community deal with brucellosis.

Private landowners play a key role in keeping elk populations healthy because their land supplies critical habitat for migrating herds. However, elk-livestock interactions may cause issues such as the transmission of brucellosis, an infectious reproductive disease that can result in abortion or the birth of weak calves.

The Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) presented RMEF with a conservation partner award for its commitment to help ranchers and conservationists share the cost of living with wildlife. PERC’s Brucellosis Compensation Fund is a privately financed tool launched in 2022, funded in part by RMEF, that will ease the financial burdens of ranchers in Montana’s Paradise Valley whose cattle may contract brucellosis.

“We appreciate receiving this award from our PERC partners and for their innovative approach to deal with what can be a sticky issue,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “We’re proud to work with ranchers and private landowners. We recognize how important they are because migrating elk, mule deer and other wildlife really depend on private land.”

According to PERC, thousands of elk migrate north from Yellowstone Park and spend up to 80 percent of the winter months on private land in the Paradise Valley.

RMEF has long worked to help find solutions to address the brucellosis transmission issues that occur in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem including grants for brucellosis research in Wyoming and Montana.

PERC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Bozeman, Montana, that specializes in market solutions for conservation. Through research, law and policy, and innovative applied conservation programs, it explores how aligning incentives for environmental stewardship produces sustainable outcomes for land, water and wildlife.

(Photo credit: Louise Johns)