By Kristin Espeland
Laramie, WY – The window for public comment on proposed changes in the way northwestern elk herds are managed has just closed. National Elk Refuge manager Barry Reiswig says the proposed management plan drew comments from thousands of people and organizations. Reiswig says most oppose the refuge's preference to cut off most supplemental feeding, a practice begun in the early 1900s. But Reiswig says competing interests in the animals' welfare make choosing any plan difficult.
Reiswig says that extra feeding - more than 30 tons a day per herd in the winter - elevates the risk of brucellosis. Instead, he says his agency would try to improve forage for the elk. But some opponents say feeding should continue because human influence has choked off other food sources.