Good News — But, Not Out Of The Woods Yet…
A comprehensive report outlining efforts to monitor and prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Michigan was delivered to the Natural Resources Commission at the Feb. meeting in Lansing. A team of Department of Natural Resources and Michigan Department of Agriculture staff presented the report.
In 2008, the DNR tested 9,151 free-ranging whitetailed deer for CWD, and all tested negative. The only deer that has tested positive for the disease so far was a privately-owned three-year old doe at a deer breeding facility in Kent County. The DNR and MDA announced detection of the disease at the Kent County facility in August 2008.
“While it is good news we have not detected the disease yet in the free-ranging deer herd, it does not by any means indicate we are out of the woods,” said DNR Wildlife Veterinarian Steve Schmitt. “We will continue testing at increased levels for the next several years, and we will continue to urge strong prevention measures with hunters to help us keep the disease from spreading.”
The prevention measures include:
• Maintain the permanent ban on baiting and feeding deer in the Lower Peninsula;
• Continue the captive cervid importation ban, which prohibits the importation of captive cervids from other states into Michigan;
• Continue the restrictions on importation and possession of hunter-harvested free-ranging deer and elk from states or provinces where CWD has been found;
• Continue adequate testing of captive and free-ranging deer and elk.
“We must continue to be diligent in preventing the establishment of CWD in free-ranging deer in Michigan,” said DNR Wildlife Chief Russ Mason. “If we fail and the disease becomes established, we will be living with CWD forever, and over time we will witness the decimation of the free-ranging white-tailed deer herd in this state.”
The report also revealed that there are 492 registered captive cervid facilities currently operating in the state. Since 2006, 79 facilities have started the decommissioning process, with 65 facilities requesting to be decommissioned since Aug. 25, 2008, when all facilities were placed under a statewide quarantine to prevent the movement of captive cervids in the state. A total of 224 privately-owned cervid facilities have been released from the quarantine following inspections by the state, while the rest remain under the quarantine.
For more information about CWD in Michigan, please visit the Emerging Diseases Web site at www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases, the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr or the MDA Web site at www.michigan.gov/mda.