First Wild CWD in Iowa

Late 2012 saw first case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in captive deer in Iowa, and there has been chronic wasting disease in wild deer in every state bordering Iowa, but Iowa only recorded its first case of CWD in a wild deer in the state in an announcement on April 9.

According to an Iowa Department of Natural Resources press release, “The deer was reported as harvested in Allamakee County during the first shotgun season in early December.”

The state is formulating a response plan and coordinating efforts with nearby Minnesota and Wisconsin.

A report by KTVO says that the gates of the hunting facility in Davis County where the first case of CWD was found two years ago were chained open when the facility was supposed to be quarantined to protect local deer from the disease.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources press release is here.
A Minneapolis Star-Tribune article about the finding is here.
A Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin article is here.
The Des Moines Register article is here.
And the KTVO report is here.

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Elk Update

More Cervid Contraception: GonaCon and ElkIn February, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission collared 11 elk for a study in north-central Nebraska. There are a few more details in this brief KOLN-TV report.

A new elk study in Montana got more coverage. There, 45 cow and 20 bull elk were fitted with tracking collars. Five of those were traditional radio collars, the rest were GPS collars. The two year study will investigate elk movement patterns and food. Read about it in the Ravalli Republic.

In Wyoming, the concern is the potential to spread of chronic wasting disease at the 22 artificial feeding stations run by the state and one at the National Elk Refuge. Read the opinion piece in the Jackson Hole News & Guide, here.

An opinion piece that is getting a lot of buzz ran in the New York Times recently. It says that wolves did not fix the Yellowstone ecosystem by preying on elk and allowing aspen to grow. No, the article says, the Yellowstone ecosystem is broken, and mere wolves can’t fix it. Read the article in the New York Times, here.

Photo of bull elk courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service

Another CWD Deer in Pennsylvania

white_tailed_deer_buckChronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was first detected in Pennsylvania in 2012 at a captive facility in Adams County. Subsequently, three free-ranging deer harvested by hunters during the 2012 season tested positive for CWD. Now, a Pennsylvania Game Commission press release reports, a white-tailed deer that was killed by a vehicle this fall has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD).

The latest case is in the same county as one of the previous wild deer cases. Apparently, that’s the first report of CWD in Pennsylvania in 2013 (even though the press release came out in 2014, which makes things a little confusing).

Read the Pennsylvania Game Commission press release, here.
Read a brief article in PressConnects.com, a Gannett publication, here.

Photo: A (very) healthy deer. Joe Kosack/Pennsylvania Game Commission

Who Should Oversee Deer Breeding and Captive Hunts?

white_tailed_deer_buckThe deer breeding and captive hunt industry would like state departments of agriculture to regulate their industry, rather than state fish and wildlife departments. The industry has made a legislative push throughout the country for more favorable regulations.

A blog in Outdoor Life points out that state wildlife agencies should regulate all of a state’s deer because of the threat of disease — particularly chronic wasting disease (CWD), which is often associated with captive deer hunting facilities, and odd genes escaping into the wild deer herd, not to mention the problem of turning a public resources (wild deer) into private property.

Read the Outdoor Life blog here.

The Associated Press recently ran a story about the controversy over regulating private deer enclosures in Mississippi. The state wildlife department has regulated the facilities since 2008. A legislative committee says it shouldn’t.

Read the story in SF Gate.

Wildlife Professional magazine had an excellent article on this subject back in December. It reviews all the threats to the wild deer herd from captive hunt and deer breeding facilities.

Read the article here.

Photo: A wild buck, by Joe Kosack/Pennsylvania Game Commission

Penn State Develops CWD Model

white_tailed_deer_buckEight years ago, research done by Penn State University, the Pennsylvania Wildlife Commission, and the US Geological Survey found in a study of white-tailed deer, that 70 percent of yearling males will disperse, and the average dispersal is six to seven miles. Depending on the amount of forest on the landscape, the researcher says, those yearling males may go just a mile or as far as 30 miles.

Now, another team of Penn State researchers are using that dispersal data to model the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Pennsylvania.

So far, the conclusions are that in parts of the state with less forest, the Game Commission may have to consider disease-management areas that are larger. It also has implications on sampling efforts to try to get a handle on the prevalence of the disease.

Read the Penn State University press release here.

Photo: Joe Kosack/Pennsylvania Game Commission

Moose: CWD in Canada and New Study in Montana

mooseThe Edmonton Journal reports that chronic wasting disease (CWD) has been discovered in an adult bull moose that was killed in a vehicle collision in southern Alberta last year. It is the first case of CWD in a moose in Canada, the article says, adding that the disease has previously been found in moose in Colorado and Wyoming.

Read the Edmonton Journal article here.

In Montana, the moose population has been in decline in the last several years, with last year’s moose hunt seeing the lowest numbers in 50 years. An article in the Flathead Beacon says that Montana has joined the states initiating a long-term research project to try to uncover the cause of the decline.

Twelve cow moose have been radio collared for a 10 year study, the article in the Flathead Beacon says. The study will also include analyzing blood samples. Nick DeCesare is the lead biologist for the study, assisted by Jesse Newby.

Read the complete store in the Flathead Beacon, here.

Photo: Not Canadian, eh? A New Hampshire moose by Alan Briere, courtesy of NH Fish and Wildlife

Wyoming Won’t Cull Deer After CWD Found

deer with chronic wasting diseaseChronic wasting disease (CWD), a prion disease affecting deer, has been found in a new region of Wyoming, about 40 miles away from an area in Utah where CWD had recently been found.

A Wyoming Game & Fish Department press release says that the state will not try to reduce the number of deer in the area where the diseased deer was found. This technique was successfully used in New York State, which may be the only place CWD has been eradicated after it had been found in wild deer populations.

The Wyoming release cites research from Wisconsin and Colorado showing that the technique doesn’t work as its reason for not using it.

Read the press release here.

Photo: deer with chronic wasting disease. It’s teeny tiny because nobody wants to get a good look at a sick deer. Courtesy of the US Department of Agriculture

Deer Health

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture announced the first case of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in deer there last week. As you may guess from the state department issuing the news, CWD was found in captive deer.

CWD had been found in New York, which borders Pennsylvania, several years ago and is believed to be eradicated there. But there have been more recent incidents in West Virginia and Maryland, which also border the state.

(My rough measurements show the Pennsylvania case as being about 40 miles from where CWD was found in Maryland and West Virginia.)

Read the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture press release here. (It’s a PDF).
Read an article in the Lehigh Valley Morning Call, here.

In other deer health news, Louisiana State Wildlife Division chief Kenny Ribbeck told the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission last week that Hurricane Isaac killed up to 90 percent of the deer fawns in the Maurepas Basin, according to an Associated Press article that you can read in The Oregonian. Deer hunting in the region has been adjusted as a result.

And in the category of “when is no news actually news” the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre notes in its blog that epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) came awfully close to Canada this year. The midge that spreads EHD is not found in Canada, it says, but the disease may move north with the midge because of climate change. It also notes that because the disease has never struck there, the outbreak may be severe.

Read the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre blog post, here.

Photo: Joe Kosack/Pennsylvania Game Commission

Cervid Disease Update

Add New Jersey and South Dakota to the list of states reporting an epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) outbreak in white-tailed deer this year. Find more info here:

New Jersey
South Dakota

Bluetongue has been reported in Missouri by CBS News. Bluetongue is another virus closely related to EHD, and is also spread by midges, a biting insect. However, some say that only cattle get bluetongue. Others say deer do too, but very rarely.

In Nebraska, the state veterinarian is saying that cattle in the state are getting EHD, which again is considered to be a rare occurrence. He is seeking more information from cattle owners whose animals are experiencing EHD symptoms (which are virtually identical to bluetongue symptoms, which is common in cattle). Read the press release here.

In Washington, hunters have been finding limping elk with deformed hooves since the 1990s. Now the disease is spreading, and Oregon Public Broadcasting has the story.

Finally, in Texas, officials had set up a containment zone when chronic wasting disease (CWD) was detected in deer on the border with New Mexico. However, the latest news from the San Angelo Standard-Times says that the new rules will be delayed until the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission on November 7-8. According to the Austin Statesman, that’s after the archery season and a few days after the start of the standard deer season.

The Austin Statesman article has the most detail. Read it here.
The Standard-Times article is a re-print of the Texas Parks and Wildlife press release. Read the press release here.
An Outdoor Life blog also had a few words to say about the restrictions, putting them in national context. Read that here.

 

Chronic Wasting Disease Update

CWD risk in Ontario

Three more cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) were confirmed in wild white-tailed deer in Missouri last week. These deer had been killed within two miles of the free-ranging deer found to have CWD last fall.

Read the Missouri Department of Conservation press release, here.

The situation in Virginia is similar. “Two new cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) have been detected very close to where CWD-infected deer were found in 2009 and 2010,” the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries press release says.

CWD has been found in mule deer in New Mexico for 10 years, but this year it was detected in deer not far from El Paso, Texas, which has the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on alert. Read an article about this in the Lonestar Outdoor News.

There’s no CWD in Ontario, Canada yet, but they are keeping an eye out for it, since it has been found in the neighboring US states of New York, Minnesota and Michigan. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources recently released a seven-page report about its surveillance program. (Be forewarned, that link will pop up a sizable PDF.)