Coyotes and BSE?

Ronda Roaring, who studies game management documents, discovered that cows who could have BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or “mad cow” disease) are being dumped where coyotes, wandering dogs, and bears could get at them. She notes that if cows are being dumped and coyotes are “enjoying” them, this might tempt coyotes to kill calves.

Ronda questioned a researcher, Jacqui Frair, whose research is mentioned in the NYS Department of Conservation’s 2008 Annual Report: She wrote: I came upon mention of your research in the DEC’s 2008 annual report. I’d like clarification on the phrase in the report of “Backtracking efforts also revealed 9 cows…” and from your Web site “cattle dumps.” Are you implying that coyotes are killing cows or that farmers are dumping dead animals that coyotes are finding and eating?

Jacqui Friar replied:

We have found no evidence of coyotes killing cattle in our study. Rather, the coyotes we have been ‘back-tracking’ with GPS collars have visited what we call ‘carcass dumps’ where farmers have disposed of cattle that have died from other causes.

Jacqui Frair
jfrair@esf.edu  .

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