Laramie, WY – Hundreds of tests have failed so far to
show exactly why scores of elk that ate lichen died in the Red Rim area last month.
Becky Dailey is a doctoral student who works at the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory in Laramie. She is investigating why elk died in the area south of Rawlins both this year and in 2004.
Dailey says tests show lichen was present in all the animals' stomachs. But she says the tests otherwise haven't turned up any valuable new information that would let her solve the mystery of
why the lichen killed the elk.
Tests from the hundreds of elk that died of lichen poisoning in 2004 confirmed lichen was the cause. But researchers at the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory said results were equally inconclusive
then about why the animals died.
Dailey said the tests haven't yet found the toxic compound in the lichen. She said that's something she and every other
researcher involved in the project wants to determine.