HOT SPRINGS, S.D. – Workers at Wind Cave National Park are videotaping deer and elk suspected of having chronic wasting disease to learn more about the outward signs of the fatal disease.
A 20-month-old elk that exhibited signs of the disease was killed and tested positive for the disease recently. Since 1998, 70 deer and 10 elk in the park have tested positive for the disease, which attacks the animal’s brain.
Staff check for animals that show symptoms, videotape their behavior and then compare the symptoms with the autopsy results, said Dan Roddy, resource management specialist in the park.
“This allows us to learn more about the clinical signs of this disease and teaches us which suspect animals are sick from chronic wasting disease and which are sick from other causes,” Roddy said.
This “targeted surveillance” helps keep the disease from spreading, he said.
How the disease spreads among animals is not known.