FWC asks hunters to help monitor deer for chronic wasting disease
Friday, July 22, 2011
Media contact: Tony Young, 850-488-7867
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has
not found any evidence of chronic wasting disease (CWD) after years
of extensive testing of the state's white-tailed deer
The FWC tested 910 free-ranging deer during the past year and
5,519 deer during the past nine years, with no CWD-positive
"We are fortunate that no Florida deer has tested positive for
CWD. The effect this disease has had in other states is
substantial," Cory Morea, FWC's deer coordinator and biologist,
said. "We would like to obtain more samples of deer from areas
adjacent to captive deer facilities, because the most likely way
for CWD to be introduced into Florida is through the importation of
deer from other states."
CWD is a contagious neurological disease that has been found in
captive and wild mule deer, white-tailed deer, moose and Rocky
Mountain elk within several Western states and more recently
Eastern states. The disease causes degeneration of the brain of
infected animals, resulting in emaciation, abnormal behavior, loss
of bodily functions and death.
Virginia and West Virginia are the only southeastern states
where CWD has been detected.
To reduce the chances of CWD entering Florida, the state
prohibits importing live deer unless they come from a herd that has
been certified CWD-free for five or more years. Additionally,
importation of any species of deer, elk or moose carcasses, with
the exception of cleaned skull caps, antlers, tanned hides and
deboned meat, is prohibited from 19 states and two Canadian
provinces where CWD has been detected.
Chronic wasting disease has been detected in New Mexico, Utah,
Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Montana, South
Dakota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois, New York, West Virginia,
Michigan, Virginia, Missouri, North Dakota and Maryland, and
Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada. Visit the CWD Alliance website at
www.cwd-info.org for the
most up-to-date CWD reporting.
"Early detection is the key to limiting the spread of the
disease, if such an outbreak should occur in Florida," Morea
The FWC is once again turning to hunters and members of the
public this hunting season for assistance in helping monitor the
state's deer herd for CWD.
"We're asking hunters to report any sightings of sick or
emaciated deer, or deer found dead from unknown causes," Morea
said. "If you see such a deer, do not touch it, but instead contact
us as soon as possible by calling toll-free, 866-CWD-WATCH
(293-9282). Wildlife biologists will respond and, if necessary,
collect deer tissue for testing."
CWD WATCH is part of an aggressive monitoring program intended
to detect CWD in Florida and minimize its impact, should it be
There is no evidence that CWD poses a risk for humans. However,
public health officials recommend avoiding direct contact with any
sick-looking deer or one that has died from unknown causes.
For more information about CWD
surveillance in Florida, go to MyFWC.com/CWD. The website also
offers links to wildlife and health agencies with more in-depth
information about the disease.