Deer and Elk Importation Banned

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Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bradley Campbell and Division of Fish and Wildlife Director Bob McDowell have announced an emergency measure to prohibit the importation of deer and elk into New Jersey. The restriction is effective immediately and serves as a precautionary step to prohibit the spread of chronic wasting disease into the State's wild and captive herds of animals belonging to the deer family.

"The emergency ban on the importation of deer and elk into the State will reduce the risk of chronic wasting disease entering New Jersey and will prevent wild deer herds from being exposed to this deadly disease," Commissioner Campbell said. "New Jersey has a healthy deer herd that plays an important part in our State's environment and economy, and we are committed to work with other State agencies and the federal government to put into place measures that will halt the spread of this disease."

"New Jersey has a number of captive deer herds as well as a healthy wild deer population," said Division Director Bob McDowell. "The ban on importation is an essential disease control measure what will help prevent the introduction of this destructive disease into New Jersey."

Chronic wasting disease has been diagnosed in captive elk or deer herds in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Oklahoma, and South Dakota and in Saskatchewan Canada. It has been confirmed in wild deer herds in Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and Wisconsin. There are no known cases of the disease in New Jersey.

A relatively new disease, chronic wasting disease is not fully understood at this time. The disease causes weight loss and is always fatal. Its origin is unknown and it is transmittable between animals. To date, it has been only found in members of the deer family. There is no evidence that the disease is linked to disease in humans or domestic livestock other than deer and elk.