Publications by authors named "Matthew Maloney"

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Chronic wasting disease undermines efforts to control the spread of brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Ecol Appl 2020 09 5;30(6):e02129. Epub 2020 May 5.

Department of Veterinary Sciences, College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, University of Wyoming, 1174 Snowy Range Road, Laramie, Wyoming, 82070, USA.

Wildlife diseases pose a substantial threat to the provisioning of ecosystem services. We use a novel modeling approach to study the potential loss of these services through the imminent introduction of chronic wasting disease (CWD) to elk populations in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). A specific concern is that concentrating elk at feedgrounds may exacerbate the spread of CWD, whereas eliminating feedgrounds may increase the number of elk on private ranchlands and the transmission of a second disease, brucellosis, from elk to cattle. To evaluate the consequences of management strategies given the threat of two concurrent wildlife diseases, we develop a spatiotemporal bioeconomic model. GPS data from elk and landscape attributes are used to predict migratory behavior and population densities with and without supplementary feeding. We use a 4,800 km area around Pinedale, Wyoming containing four existing feedgrounds as a case study. For this area, we simulate welfare estimates under a variety of management strategies. Our results indicate that continuing to feed elk could result in substantial welfare losses for the case-study region. Therefore, to maximize the present value of economic net benefits generated by the local elk population upon CWD's arrival in the region, wildlife managers may wish to consider discontinuing elk feedgrounds while simultaneously developing new methods to mitigate the financial impact to ranchers of possible brucellosis transmission to livestock. More generally, our methods can be used to weigh the costs and benefits of human-wildlife interactions in the presence of multiple disease risks.
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September 2020