An association of 31 Wyoming residents are working to help the Wyoming Game and Fish Department draft a revised plan to help slow the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). This report will contain updated strategies and recommendations for combating this disease. Data for this report comes from members of the public, epidemiologists, and others that have a vested interest; for instance, hunters and conservationists.
CWD is a contagious brain disease that affects members of the deer family. It is always fatal, and there remains no concrete evidence of what will prevent this disease. It is speculated that CWD is, to some extent, passed on through contact with feces, urine and saliva. Detection of CWD is very difficult as well. In the early stages, signs of infection among deer, elk and moose are almost invisible. In fact, most diagnoses are made after death.
One of the main recommendations to Wyoming Game and Fish, is that there needs to be an end to feeding grounds and other manufactured gathering points. It is believed that high concentrations of animals within close distances of each other allows CWD to spread rapidly. However, along with the other recommendations put forth, the association states that CWD is not going to be defeated. According to Brent Shumaker, professor within the Department of Veterinary Sciences at Wyoming University, these recommendations “will hopefully contribute to lowering the impact of the disease and slow the spread.”
Public meetings are being held throughout Wyoming this month. The revision of the prevention strategy will remain open to public comment until January 15. Wyoming Game and Fish have the final say in what strategy they will put in place. However, prior prevention strategies put forth by Wyoming Game and Fish have not been successful in slowing the spread of CWD. Thus, the association hopes that their recommendations will be used.
What are your thoughts? Are game agencies doing enough to fight CWD?