CWD UPDATE December 17, 2004

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission reports the confirmation of a case of CWD on the Cornhusker Wildlife Management Area, near the town of Grand Island in Hall County. The positive was a 2½-year-old whitetail buck. This is approximately 250 east of the Panhandle where all previous cases have been found. This new finding is causing a reassessment of our statewide CWD management strategies. The nearest captive cervid facility is 10 miles away and has been testing their elk since 2000 with no positives found. Agency staff has collected an additional 67 deer from the immediate area to test for CWD.

The National Agricultural Biosecurity Center Consortium has issued a report titled “Carcass Disposal: A Comprehensive Review”. The report covers disposal of carcasses involved in biosecurity events but may be helpful for reviewing in light of carcass disposal issues with CWD. It can be accessed at http://fss.k-state.edu/research/books/carcassdispfiles/Carcass%20Disposal.html.

The Natural Resources Minister of the Province of Ontario has announced that Ontario will ban canned hunts. The ban will be implemented through a regulation change under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act and will take effect April 30, 2005 in order to give operators time to make changes in their business. An estimated 200 to 400 animals are hunted in captivity each year in Ontario, mainly wild boar and non-native deer. The change will affect only hunting behind high wire, not those animals raised for meat production or other purposes.

Twenty-three elk shot by officials from Alberta have been tested for CWD and the disease was not detected in the herd. The animals were shot after they were discovered in an area where elk do not normally occur and it was suspected that they were farm raised and released into the area on purpose. Fish and Wildlife Staff shot a total of 28 elk but only 23 of them produced brain tissue samples for testing.

Testing of cervids in Europe for CWD has been very limited. Since 1999, the following countries have tested cervids; Germany (5,000), Belgium (38), Denmark (16), Italy (18), Finland (912), Sweden (8), and United Kingdom (1,652). Species tested include roe deer, red deer, fallow deer, white-tailed deer, reindeer, and moose. These numbers may not be complete and at least Germany and United Kingdom plan on increasing their testing.