GREEN RIVER (AP) – An expert on chronic wasting disease hopes to study 20 deer fawns from several Western states this fall.

Elizabeth Williams, with the University of Wyoming College of Agriculture, has outlined plans to study 10 mule deer fawns and 10 white-tailed deer fawns in Wyoming, the Casper Star-Tribune reports.

The deer will be used as controls and will come from areas not known to have chronic wasting disease. Williams said the animals must be obtained as young fawns so that they can be trained to enter metabolic chambers for sample collection.

The fawns will be kept in wire-enclosed, concrete-floored pens within a double-fenced enclosure at the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory’s Red Buttes Research Facility. The research will take place over four years. Any animals that die during the research will be autopsied and all will be euthanized at the end of the study.

Also taking part in the Defense Department-funded study will be Terry Kreeger, with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and Colorado Division of Wildlife researchers.

Chronic wasting disease was first detected in the Rocky Mountain region in 1967, when biologists diagnosed a sick deer at a wildlife research facility in Fort Collins, Colo. The disease had spread to Wyoming by the end of the decade at the Game and Fish Department’s Sybille Canyon Research Facility.

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