NewsDesk @bactiman63

An anthrax outbreak is being reported and monitored in the remote areas of the largest national park in Canada– Wood Buffalo National Park, according to Parks Canada.

Image/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

As of July 28, officials have reported a total of 59 bison mortalities that are suspected to be caused by anthrax.

Parks Canada says three cases have been lab-confirmed.

Resource Conservation staff at Wood Buffalo National Park continue to conduct routine surveillance flights in the park to identify new mortalities and monitor the extent of the outbreak. So far, observed carcasses are located in remote areas of the park and officials don’t foresee any risk to the public.

A Parks Canada Incident Management Team (IMT) has been mobilized to assist in the disposal of carcasses at Sweetgrass Station, due to their proximity to facilities at Sweetgrass.

Additional deceased bison have been observed in the Lake One, Trident Creek/Trident Meadows, Peace Point west junction, and Flat grass areas of the park.

Parks Canada is working closely with relevant provincial, territorial and federal organizations, Indigenous governments, local communities, and visitors to ensure the health and safety of the public and park staff are protected. As a precautionary measure, area closures are in place for the Sweetgrass, Trident Creek/Meadows, and Peace Point West Junction areas.

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Fort Smith residents are asked to please avoid the Wood Buffalo National Park firebase, located next to the Fort Smith airport, as Parks Canada’s Incident Management Team works to manage the situation. Additionally, incident personnel are staging operations out of Moose Island (Carlson’s Landing) in Wood Buffalo National Park. Helicopters are active in both areas. Please avoid these areas to allow for personnel to safely complete their work.

If you come across a dead animal in the park, do not touch it. Leave the area immediately and report the location to the Wood Buffalo National Park Duty Officer at (867) 872-0404.

Wood Buffalo National Park is located in northeastern Alberta and the southern Northwest Territories.