OLYMPIA — State wildlife biologists plan to kill and collect samples from elk calves to find out what’s causing hoof disease in elk in southwest Washington.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife says it plans to take up to five young elk from industrial forestland in Pacific County starting this month. Biologists will use those samples to compare them with elk from the Cowlitz River basin where the disease has spread quickly among elk since 2008.
Biologists will also kill and take samples from young elk in the Cowlitz area and western Yakima County.
The agency says hoof disease results in broken, deformed hooves and lameness that can hinder an elk’s ability to survive.