March 26, 2004
March 26, 2004 -- Wildlife officials on Monday said that the lichen species that led to the mysterious deaths of nearly 300 elk in southern Wyoming in February was also the blame for sheep and cattle deaths a half-century ago.
The lichen, called parmelia, can produce an acid that eventually breaks down muscle tissue. Biologists are now studying why the elk were affected this year and not in previous winters.
Wildlife officials are relieved to know that there is not a new disease spreading through the elk herd in Wyoming. However, there are still a lot of factors to be considered in the investigation.
Staff contact: Paul Rodgers, 304-647-9981