South Dakota park addresses chronic wasting disease in elk

File photo.

HOT SPRINGS, S.D. (AP) - Officials at South Dakota's Wind Cave National Park are addressing chronic wasting disease in elk through two initiatives.

The fatal neurological illness continues to threaten the overall health of the park's elk population.

The Rapid City Journal reports that a U.S. Geological Survey scientist has been conducting research in the park by fitting captured elk with GPS radio collars. The initiative aims to determine the possibility of decreasing the disease's prevalence by reducing the herd's density.

The park's other program focuses on population control with the help of the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department. The culling program tested 262 elk for the disease and found a prevalence rate of nearly 14 percent last year. They will conduct another herd reduction in 2018.

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