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Yukon moves to thin elk herd

Yukon farmers are expected to be among the beneficiaries of a proposed “limited harvest” of elk in the territory in 2009, the government said Monday.

The Yukon government, which adopted a new elk management plan in June, said Monday it will begin work with First Nations and other stakeholders on some more of the plan’s objectives, including an elk harvest.

A limited harvest, the government said, could help to reduce farmers’ crop losses to elk, cut collisions between vehicles and elk, increase the animals’ value as a wild food and further reduce risk of winter ticks moving to other wildlife species in the region.

The government’s next steps are “consistent with the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board recommendation to enable a limited elk harvest once a strategy had been developed to deal with winter ticks in the elk herds,” Environment Minister Elaine Taylor said in a release.

Actions announced earlier to contain the spread of winter ticks include a recapture of the Takhini herd and capture of the Braeburn herd in late winter, studies on winter tick ecology to assess the risk that they pose to wildlife, and development of a long-term winter tick surveillance plan to learn more about winter tick distribution and abundance, the government said.

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