Elk NetworkHoof Disease Discovered in California Elk

General | October 11, 2021

First documented in California in December of 2019, wildlife officials recently confirmed hoof disease in more than two dozen Roosevelt elk in the northwest corner of the state. They made the finding in Del Norte and Humboldt Counties after working with hunters.

“We’re working to reduce the density of elk in conflict areas, one of those being in the area where the index herd exists,” Carrington Hilson, California Department of Fish and Wildlife elk biologist, told the Wild Rivers Outpost. “We’re working in conjunction with our hunters. Last year we had 97 percent hunter compliance, basically 97 percent of our hunters that successfully harvested an elk gave us samples so we could examine those hooves and send them off for further diagnostic testing where it was warranted.”

Treponeme-associated hoof disease is generally untreatable and debilitating. Official also confirmed hoof disease in elk in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. There is no known cure although Washington State University’s Elk Hoof Disease Research team, supported by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, recently determined elk can contract the disease by simply walking on contaminated soil.

(Photo source: California Department of Fish and Wildlife)