Tuesday, September 26, 2006

More exotics bred for canned hunts escape in Idaho

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

CHUBBUCK, Idaho (AP) -- The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has captured two domesticated European deer that apparently escaped from private property and wandered into a downtown trailer park.

Another four cow elk, marked with domestic livestock ear tags, accompanied by four calves are still loose from a separate escape, Carl Anderson, Fish and Game's regional wildlife manager, told the Idaho State Journal.

The two new escapes follow the high-profile escape in August of as many as 160 domestic elk near Ashton, Idaho that has unnerved wildlife officials.

The elk belonged to Rex Rammell and were specially bred for private pen hunters on the Chief Joseph Elk Ranch, near Yellowstone National Park and the Wyoming border.

Fearing pollution of the wild elk gene pool, Gov. Jim Risch ordered the escaped elk shot on sight.

The fallow deer captured in Chubbuck were from a species native to Europe, Anderson said. He suspected they were pets that had escaped because they were tame and not marked with tags as required by law.

"If anybody is missing these animals or knows anything about who the owners might be, we'd really like to have them call the Chubbuck Police Department or the Bannock County Sheriff so we can give them back to them," he said.

Earlier in the week, Fish and Game officers received a call from a rancher who said he saw elk with large blue-and-white plastic ear tags wandering near his property in Aberdeen.

The tags likely identified the escaped elk as domestic. The four cow elk and four fawns have not been spotted since Wednesday.

Anderson said the nearest domestic elk ranch is in Moreland, just west of Blackfoot, but the loose elk probably did not escape from that farm.

"We've checked with the Department of Agriculture," Anderson said. "They can't find a record of anyone with those types of tags."

http://www.casperstartribune.net/articles/2006/09/26/news/ regional/ec1805ca187e21b0872571f40072b84e.txt

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