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Growing up in Montana, nature and the outdoors have consistently played a pivotal role in the development of my identity. My friends and I constantly find ourselves immersed in the beautiful landscapes that Bozeman is known for. The threat that Chronic Wasting Disease poses to our delicate ecosystem is a serious concern for me and many other teens whose hobbies and lifestyles depend on the deer, moose, and elk that are being affected by it.

Wyoming, a state similar to ours in its love of the outdoors, has made no meaningful steps to stop the progression of CWD, a disease that is fatal in every case. In fact, the feed grounds in Wyoming, that supply hay to wild elk in the winter, are a disaster waiting to happen. If CWD gets into the feed grounds the disease will spread rapidly through the elk population. To protect Montana, it is vital that feed grounds in Wyoming are phased out. It is also important that natural predators of elk, deer, and moose are protected and their dwindling numbers restored. Animals like grey wolves and grizzlies have a huge role in naturally controlling the deer, elk, and moose populations.

Though CWD has has yet to take a large toll on Montana populations, there is a very real chance it will unless measures are taken by Wyoming and surrounding states. Both state and federal government needs to support sustainable wildlife management practices. For the sake of my future, I hope these animals stick around.

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Olivia Lieb

Bozeman

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