Several elk transported from Arizona to WVa died of parasite

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Nearly one-third of the elk herd transported to West Virginia two years ago died from a parasite, a wildlife official said.

White-tailed deer carry but apparently are unaffected by brainworms, which can be deadly to other antlered animals. Randy Kelley, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources’ elk project leader, told the Charleston Gazette-Mail that during grazing, the elk accidentally consumed snails that had eaten brainworm eggs.

More snails and slugs existed than usual during the wet spring of 2019, Kelley said.

There were 46 elk transported from Arizona in March 2018 to Logan County. The elk underwent a 120-day quarantine period mandated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture which included an additional disease test.

Kelley said the quarantine weakened the elk physically.

“If we had been able to release those elk promptly, and without having to recapture each one of them individually for re-testing, I think a lot more of them would have survived,” Kelley said.

Sponsored Content
Kassie Simmons
Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at