by Lori Tipton
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
PORTAGE, Alaska -- The wood bison herd in Portage is undergoing another health checkup.
This week at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, state veterinarians and biologists with Fish and Game are teaming up for the final disease testing on the herd.
They're using a new method to test some of the animals.
"This is actually a fairly huge undertaking, handling over 80 bison twice in one week," said Randy Rogers, a wildlife planner with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
This makes the third time these animals have undergone testing.
This time, it's for parasites and tuberculosis.
Wednesday, five of the largest males were tranquilized, one at a time, before their check up.
In mid-March last year during testing, a large male became agitated and charged a handler.
He walked away from it, but no one wanted to see that happen again.
"The safest ways for both humans and for them to do the testing is to tranquilize them, to knock them out, to work on them while they're out," said Cathie Harms, a wildlife biologist for Fish and Game.