WYOMING GAME AND FISH DEPARTMENT
CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE MANAGEMENT PLAN
February 17, 2006
5. Predicted population effects on free-ranging elk based on captive elk chronically exposed to the CWD prion.
Forty-three female elk calves were trapped at the National Elk Refuge and transported to Sybille in February 2002. Elk were housed in pens, assumed to be environmentally contaminated with the CWD prion. Elk will be held throughout their lifetimes. Elk dying will be examined and cause of death determined. From these data, it will should be possible to model free-ranging elk mortality and population dynamics under extreme circumstances of CWD prion exposure and transmission. As of December 2005 (46 months post capture), 11 of 43 elk have died due to CWD. This compares to 100% mortality in less than 25 months in elk orally inoculated with different dosages of the CWD prion.
In 2005, the Wyoming legislature appropriated $2 million from the general
fund to the department’s veterinary services program. An additional $500,000
was earmarked for sage grouse habitat improvement projects and sage grouse local
working group meetings and activities.
ast year, Game and Fish tested more than 3,822 elk and deer across the state
and found eighty-two animals infected with chronic wasting disease, a fatal
brain disease of deer, elk, and moose. The disease appeared in four new areas—
deer hunt areas 30 and 33 near Kaycee, deer hunt area 76 in the southeast Snowy
Range, and elk hunt area 125 near Elk Mountain.
In the fall of 2005, the Game and Fish Commission approved regulations
designed to reduce the chance of spreading CWD to other parts of the state. The
regulations prohibit transporting a deer or elk from affected areas to any other
hunt area in Wyoming unless the head and spinal column are removed. The regulation
does allow animals to be transported to private residences, meat processors,
or taxidermists, provided the head and all portions of the spinal column are left
at the kill site or disposed in an approved landfill.
Game and Fish is focusing on finding out where exactly the disease occurs in
the state, how it may be spreading, and aggressively dealing with cases found
in new areas. The department is also participating in and supporting applied
research projects aimed at understanding the prevalence of CWD in deer and elk.
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