BCWF pushes ongoing awareness of CWD
The BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) wants you to be aware that there are mandatory submissions for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in highest-risk areas.
CWD is a fatal prion disease affecting the deer family (cervids). Surveillance for CWD in B.C. has been ongoing since 2002, with no positive cases. However, in June 2019, CWD was confirmed in white-tailed deer in Libby, Montana, approximately 60 km south of the B.C. border.
As of February 2020, 64 additional positive cases were confirmed in the Libby area; 61 white-tailed deer, one mule deer, and two moose.
In response, B.C. issued a General Order (under the BC Animal Health Act) for mandatory submission of all deer heads harvested in wildlife management units (WMUs) 4-1 through 4-7 for CWD testing.
Support from the BCWF and participation by hunters was instrumental in the delivery of a successful response effort in 2019.
CWD has not been detected in B.C., however, this level of surveillance is required for continued confidence in disease status and to ensure early detection if the disease is introduced. Mandatory submission of deer heads harvested in wildlife management units (WMUs) 4-1 through 4-7 will again be in effect for the 2020 hunting season from September 1 to December 20.
The B.C. Wildlife Health program has been doing surveillance for CWD in free-ranging cervids since 2002. To date, over 3,900 samples have been tested and there have been no CWD positive cases in B.C. Surveillance is key to understanding the disease risk of CWD in British Columbia. For this reason, hunters are encouraged to submit their deer, elk or moose head for CWD testing.
To help this initiative, the B.C. Wildlife Federation purchased and donated 10 freezers that were placed at the different drop-off locations throughout the Kootenay and Peace Region.
The Federation also had a fundraising campaign during the week leading up to National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day to raise funds to support the efforts to keep B.C. CWD free!
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