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What is chronic wasting disease and how is it affecting America’s deer population?

What is chronic wasting disease and how is it affecting America’s deer population?
This announcement comes at a time when chronic wasting disease (CWD) among wild deer has been on the rise

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is making a plea to the public to stem the spread of white-tailed deer populations.

This announcement comes at a time when chronic wasting disease (CWD) among wild deer has been on the rise. CWD is a disease that affects deer, elk, and moose populations. First damaging parts of the brain, the disease causes changes in behavior, excess salivation, or death. The disease has only affected these animals in North America.

Fra 1 april 2019 til 31 mars 2020, av 19,386 samples analyzed by the Wisconsin agency, 1,334 deer had CWD, opp fra 1,061 deer the previous year. And Dane and Iowa counties have seen an uptick from 10 til 54 per cent in adult bucks since 2002. CWD affects seven per cent of the state’s wild deer herd across the state, but that number may be higher, as collection and sampling isn’t consistent.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources started to track CWD among white-tailed deer in 1999 and the first cases were identified in 2002. The disease has continued to affect the population to this day.

While infection has spread throughout the deer population, the disease hasn’t been found to infect humans.

CWD spreads through animal-to-animal contact, contaminated food and water, and contaminated soil through the composition of an infected deer. The likelihood of infection increases as more deers congregate.

Because the disease is fatal, the DNR has asked for the public’s cooperation in tracking the disease.

Over the past four years, the DNR has collaborated with organisations and people to set up kiosks for deer carcass disposal dumpsters for hunters.

In order to increase efforts, the Adopt-a-Kiosk and Adopt-a-Dumpster programs are seeking volunteers to make CWD testing more convenient for hunters across the state.

“We know many Wisconsinites are looking to provide CWD services in their local areas. The original idea for Adopt-a-Dumpster came from hunters themselves. We then launched Adopt-a-Kiosk to provide even more opportunities to get involved,” Amanda Kamps, DNR wildlife health conservation specialist, said in a uttalelse. “Both programs give more hunters convenient opportunities to participate in CWD management around the state.”