Elk in Allamakee County could be gone soon - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Elk in Allamakee County could be gone soon

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ALLAMAKEE COUNTY (KWWL)-- Elk in Eastern Iowa? That's what those living Allamakee County tell us. They say about a dozen elk have been roaming land in the county, specifically off Highway 76 near Waukon. But will they be there for much longer?

"There's not a lot known about the transmission of it," Science teacher Sherry Jensen said.

Two weeks ago Jensen's Advanced Placement Biology class learned about chronic wasting disease, commonly found in cow, deer and elk. Then, her students took a stand.

"It was pretty neat seeing them for the first time. You just look out there and they stick out like a sore thumb," Senior Lowell Stewart said.

Stewart is talking about the elk he's been seeing near his home in Allamakee County. He says they've been there for about two years now.

"Kinda wanting them to start a population, get it going and start a season for it," Stewart said.

But the elk pose a threat. They could have that disease Stewart learned about in class.

"It does not show up for almost a year or two and once it shows up it is always fatal," Iowa DNR Spokesperson Joe Wilkinson said.

Officials with the Iowa Department of Agriculture say these elk are likely from a game farm, which means they are treated like livestock.

"The Department of Agriculture is in charge of regulating and has jurisdiction over farms and preserves. They sent out a notice saying 'if these elk are yours, claim them'," Wilkinson said.

No one claimed the elk and now the DNR is in charge of getting rid of them to prevent the spread of disease.

"If either of the animals would turn up to be CWD positive then that could have long lasting, decade lasting effects on the wild herd," Wilkinson said.

"We all are hunters and fisherman and advocate that as well. We just maybe would like to see a little more ethical way of doing it," Jensen said.

The DNR has tested about 4,000 deer to see if any carried CWD. Non tested positive. Still, they must kill the elk to prevent any chance of spreading.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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