- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 12, 2016

ELKHART, Kan. (AP) - Part of the Cimarron National Grassland has been closed to accommodate an investigation into the deaths of seven cattle.

The emergency closure imposed on Dec. 18 at the grassland in Morton County will last until at least May 1, or until it is rescinded. About 2,600 acres of the 108,000-acre land are closed to all motorized and non-motor access.

The area is made up of four sections, including Stirrup Oil Field, which is located along the Cimarron River corridor north of Rolla.

The Hutchinson News reports (https://bit.ly/1Kb0xnF ) the Morton County Grazing Association leases the grassland each year. Some range riders found the cattle dead in October. Six of the cattle were found together.

A veterinarian determined the animals had inhaled something that caused their deaths.



The closure was implemented because of the potential for hazardous airborne conditions. Once officials have determined that there is no threat to public safety, the closure order will be rescinded.

District Ranger Lance Brown says the animals’ deaths did not appear to be caused by anything malicious.

Brown says “The grassland took a very conservative approach to ensure public safety.”

Stirrup Oil Field is testing the area for anything that may have contributed to the cattle deaths.

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Information from: The Hutchinson (Kan.) News, https://www.hutchnews.com

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