Brett French reports: Scavengers sanitize environment
By angelamontana

Posted: November 4, 2021

A recent study conducted across southwestern Montana found that scavengers like coyotes and golden eagles play an important role in sanitizing the landscape. The research, conducted by U.S. Geological Survey scientists, used cow fetuses to research how quickly scavengers might clean up aborted cow elk fetuses. This is the main way that brucellosis is spread among elk, as well as from elk to cattle. What the study showed is that areas where there was less predator control, coyotes and golden eagles were quick to clean up the carcasses. This raises the question: Should Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks experiment with no predator control in areas of the Designated Surveillance Area for brucellosis to see if that helps limit spread? To read more, check out my story at

Written by Brett French | Outdoors Editor for the Billings Gazette
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