BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — The general manager of Ted Turner's Western ranches confirms a buffalo from the Snowcrest Ranch in southwest Montana tested positive for exposure to brucellosis and was destroyed.
Last month, state veterinarian Marty Zaluski announced that a bull animal on a Madison County ranch had tested positive for the disease but, under state law, could not say which ranch and what type of animal.
Miller said the Snowcrest tested nearly 1,700 animals for brucellosis. The bull was the only animal that tested positive, and it was destroyed.
The brucellosis was likely transmitted by elk, he said.
"It's not unexpected when you're in the designated surveillance area (for brucellosis), which was created for a reason," Miller said.
Last year, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks began a study of brucellosis in elk in the Ruby Valley and found that 12 of 100 cow elk captured tested positive for exposure to the disease.
The Turner ranch bison case marked the state's third brucellosis infection in a livestock herd in a year, but it does not trigger a loss of Montana's brucellosis-free status with the federal government, said Eric Liska, brucellosis program veterinarian with the state Department of Livestock.
However, the Snowcrest Ranch is under quarantine, meaning the ranch is barred from selling livestock to other ranches and adjoining ranches must also test their herds for brucellosis. Any livestock taken off the ranch must be hauled in a sealed trailer and taken directly to slaughter, Liska said.
The Snowcrest Ranch will need three negative tests of all its animals before the quarantine can be lifted, Liska said.