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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A number of elk have mysteriously come up dead in Wyoming. Lichen Toxicosis maybe the culprit.

The WY Game and Fish says "...................We also found an abundance of tumbleweed shield lichen in the area, which has been found to be toxic to elk when ingested..........................Unfortunately, the elk were too heavily scavenged and decomposed to collect any samples which would confirm lichen toxicosis."
Tumbleweed shield lichen is common in sagebrush habitats across the western U.S. The lichen causes long term and lasting muscle paralysis in affected elk, which appear alert, but are unable to stand. Lichen toxicosis itself is not deadly to elk, rather they likely succumb to predation, dehydration or starvation, as a result of being unable to move. "It is unclear why elk eat the lichen," said Mark Zornes, Green River Wildlife Management Coordinator. "While it is a very unfortunate event we really can't prevent the elk from eating the lichen. These lichen toxicity incidents are sporadic and do not impact the overall elk population."

Kind of interesting; here's the full story:
https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/WYWGFD/bulletins/13bf63b

 

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Yeah they don't know much about this stuff. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18987225

It has not been an issue since the '30s, and then it popped up again in 2004. It has antibacterial properties, so they may be drawn to it for medicinal reasons. It is interesting stuff, it is not rooted and just "tumbles" around hence it's name.

It's affect on the rumen and paralyzing affects are like other toxic affects seen in ruminants. Especially those with heavy antibacterial activity. It wipes out all the good stuff, and induces metabolic acidosis.

Before they end up completely paralyzed it looks like the deer in the vid below, which resembles blind staggers induced by selenium toxicity.

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Trains, wolves, Goobers, poachers, 1600-yard rifles, gun-wielding ******** on ATVs; now lichen.

Poor elk ain't got a chance.

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I forgot another plague to the Wyoming elk herd: Out-of-state outdoor forum toxicosis.



Uh.....do I seem snarkey lately?

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