Research finally shows the real toll of CWD.
For deer hunters and other wildlife fanatics, few topics have been as prevalent as chronic wasting disease. CWD is a neurological disease that can be found in deer, elk, and moose. Once infected, an animal’s brain begins to deteriorate, causing emaciation, abnormal behavior, loss of bodily functions and eventually death. Until recently, though, we weren’t sure how fast the degeneration process took.
A new study by the Wisconsin DNR suggests deer infected with CWD are likely to die at three times the rate of a normal, healthy deer. Officials collared nearly 150 deer in the first year of the study. Three quarters of the deer testing positive for CWD died in the first year, while only one quarter of healthy deer died.
DNR Research Scientist Dan Storm hopes they’ll continue developing a better understanding of the role CWD plays in deer herds.
“Whether our research gives us any strong notions of how to manage deer differently to manage the disease, I’m not certain about that yet,” he said.
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