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Wasting disease kills 25% of elk IN PENS CONTAMINATED CWD




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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