2018 NWT bison survey shows no signs of anthrax

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Recent flyover surveys this summer in the NWT give no indications of bison deaths caused by anthrax.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) conducts regular surveillance flights every summer over the Slave River Lowlands and the Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary to monitor for signs of anthrax within bison populations.

This summer, ENR made four flights over the Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary and five over the Slave River Lowlands and did not detect any bison deaths due to anthrax in these locations.

There have been no confirmed cases of anthrax in these locations since 2012.

The surveillance flights have now been concluded for the season and will begin again in June 2019.

If you come across a bison carcass:  

  • Do not touch the animal. It may have died from anthrax.
  • Animals that die from anthrax typically have what’s called a “sawhorse” appearance, with all four legs sticking straight out.
  • There may also be bleeding from the animal’s eyes and ears.
  • Opening the carcass can result in the release of spores that could be harmful to you. Instead, refer to the ENR Anthrax Response Plan for more information on how to respond to suspected cases of anthrax.