DNR seeks coyote carcasses to test for bovine TB

Indiana’s Department of Resources is asking Bartholomew County hunters to turn in coyote carcasses to monitor for the presence of bovine TB, which can spread to domestic farm animals.

Bovine TB is an infectious disease that can be transmitted by wildlife, including badgers and deer, to domestic farm animals, and even humans, according to the federal Department of Agriculture.

After a 2016 incident in which the disease was found in deer in Franklin County in southeast Indiana and subsequently on two farms there, the state for the first time is instituting a study of coyote carcasses to see if the disease is spreading outside that area into surrounding counties, said Joe Caudell, the state’s deer biologist.

Purdue University reported that bovine TB was detected in Indiana in domestic cattle in 2008, 2010, and 2011 and most recently in April 2016. One of the locations was a captive red deer and elk herd in Franklin County.

The first case of bovine TB in a wild white-tailed deer in Indiana occurred in August 2016 in Franklin County, Purdue officials said.

As part of efforts to screen for the disease in Indiana, Department of Natural Resources representatives want to test coyote carcasses in several southeast Indiana counties, including Bartholomew, during the coyote hunting season which is now through mid-March, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

For more on this story, see Saturday’s Republic.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.