CWD UPDATE October 17, 2003

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources reports additional CWD positive mule deer. The latest was from Sanpete County in central Utah. This is the farthest west CWD has been confirmed and is not close to the previous positives in Utah. This case was from a deer taken on a depredation problem and was to be used as a training carcass for testing samples.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department reports additional areas where CWD has been found. The latest cases are in the Black Hills area of northeastern Wyoming. Two mule deer and two white-tailed deer in four northeastern Wyoming hunt areas tested positive for the fatal brain malady during recent sampling efforts. These positives are near the towns of Lusk and Moorcroft.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game reports that they will test 500 deer and as many elk as possible for CWD on Kodiak Island this fall. They are working with USDA-APHIS to conduct tests to determine if CWD has infected cervids in that state.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks report that 24 elk have escaped from a captive cervid facility in that state. Biologists and others from the agency are attempting to locate and remove these animals. Five of the animals have been recovered by the owner and employees of the state agency have removed an additional 13 animals. Six bulls remain at large. All animals collected will be tested for CWD.

Montana has won another victory in the ongoing suite of lawsuits over the voter passed initiative banning new game farms and outlawing the “hunting” of captive animals. U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon ruled against game farmers who claimed the state robbed them of property rights. Haddon rejected the game farmers’ claim, noting that landowners have no “absolute or unfettered right” to operate game farms. What’s more, he ruled, the state has a legitimate interest in protecting wildlife.

A second deer from a Portage County, Wisconsin captive facility has tested positive for CWD. This was an adult buck and had only been on the facility for 6 days, indicating infection in another location. The animal was a shooter buck that had been moved from another captive facility in Rock County near Beloit, Wisconsin. The Portage County facility is the one challenging the depopulation order in court and is currently under quarantine. The facility near Beloit has also been placed under quarantine.

The Michigan Chronic Wasting Disease Task Force, appointed earlier this year by Governor Jennifer Granholm, has issued their final report of recommendations for keeping the disease out of Michigan. A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the Michigan State Government web site at http://www.michigan.gov/documents/cwd_final_report_75838_7.pdf (PDF File)