In 2004, something was slowly killing hundreds of elk in Wyoming. Wildlife biologists and veterinarians ruled out viruses, bacteria, heavy metal poisoning, brucellosis and wasting disease before finally determining that the culprit was a native lichen the elk had ingested because there was nothing else to eat.
Now, New Mexico game officials are in a similar quandary. They are trying to figure out what killed more than 100 elk within 24 hours last week on a private ranch north of Las Vegas, N.M.
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