JACKSON – A roadside mule deer who took his last breath outside Gros Ventre Road near Kelly, is responsible for…
JACKSON – A roadside mule deer who took his last breath outside Gros Ventre Road near Kelly, is responsible for the first confirmed case of chronic wasting disease in Jackson Hole.
Chronic wasted disease, or CWD, is a scary, unintentional lethal condition that infects elk, deer and elk, and it has the potential to significantly push down wild populations over time. It had inched west across Wyoming towards Jackson Hole for over three decades before officially arriving. Despite fear, arrival was completely expected.
“It’s not much of a shock,” said Wyoming Game and Fish Department Regional Supervisor Brad Hovinga. “We had found it, mainly around us ̵
1; in Lincoln County and Sublette County and outside the east of us.”
Grand Teton National Park executives first learned about the positive test of Game and Fish’s Wildlife Health Laboratory in Laramie late last week and the result of a confirmation test came on Monday.
The animal which was eventually tested positively was removed from the roads and tissue samples were taken on November 5th. The bock did not show the emaciation that CWD could eventually get on its victim and looked like “any other adult male deer”, says Dave Gustine, Teton Park’s Fish and Wildlife Manager.
Since Jackson Hole is a melting pot for migrating feline deer and even pets, nobody says where the CWD positive buck came from, but there is a suspicion that it migrated from the East, said Gustine.
A cousin of mad cow disease in cattle and Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s disease in humans, spread of disease is spread by prions, which are persistent proteins that can survive beyond their animals host and can consist of soil and grass. There is no indication that CWD can be eliminated from a landscape once it has been introduced.
A study by 2015 by Converse County Mule Deer Herd, who has implicated CWD for decades, found that the disease drove down the population by 19 percent annually. There is nothing to say how fast wasting diseases will affect Jackson Hole’s ungulates at a population level or jump species to moose.
“CWD is a very long-term disease, so I suspect, based on current literature, that it would be years, if not decades, before we see a population level impact from CWD in deer in western Wyoming,” said Hovinga. “And we have not found it in moose, so at present we think it’s limited to deer in western Wyoming.”
The nearest moose that tested positive for CWD was in the Bighorn Basin, in a hunting area that stretches between the Owl Creek Mountains and Cody. A positive moose was found once in Death in the Star Valley, and otherwise all nearby discoveries have been deer. On a larger scale, CWD has been found in 25 states and the Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba provinces in Canada.
The Elkemings program will go on this winter as it always has said, says Hovinga.
“We will continue to do things we had planned,” he said. “It’s not a trigger for anything for game and fish, management-wise.”
Conservation biologists, and recently Montana keeper, have asked Wyoming officials to discontinue the Moose Feed Program to reduce the disease distribution between elk.
National Elk Refuge Manger Brian Glaspell also said that there are no changes to the feed program this winter, but other switches have been reversed. The resort says that he will accelerate his biosecurity protocol for personnel handling potentially infected animals and animal monitoring.
“There is no definite way to predict if it will make the jump between species or how long it can take,” Glaspell said, “but anecdotally, if you look at the development of the CWD across the state, it seems like it There may be a two to five year period between deer [contracting it] and moose. “
In-situ surveillance programs will ideally detect the species leap when it occurs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guide as Game and Fish passes to hunters recommend to consume meat from infected animals. Wyoming Wildlife managers tested 3,882 animals for CWD last year. The Teton Park so far this year had sampled 31 elk, 18 deer and two elk.
Teton Park, like the other authorities, makes no major immediate changes as a result of the CWD and emphasizes public education.
“Nobody wanted to see this,” said Sue Consolo-Murphy, the park’s scientist and resource manager. “And now we will try to handle it the best way we can move on.”
A former National Elk Refuge employee demanded that The agencies would take swift action.
“It’s not surprising that” Hi, we now have chronic wasteful disease in Jackson Hole, “” Retired biologist and author Bruce Smith said. “And nothing has really been done to try to reduce the impact of CWD there. “
” You have to reduce the amount down to what the habitat can support, “he said.” And then, as it happens, the feed becomes unnecessary. It’s a slow phase out. It is all possible, and in the long run, it will be beneficial for the citizens of Wyoming to have a less healthy moose crew than is currently on the horizon. “
Jackson resident and Sierra Club employee Lloyd Dorsey made a similar remark.
” The deer was very close to the National Elk Refuge, “said Dorsey.” Unfortunately, we now know that the disease is in the heart of this world-renowned ecosystem, and this highlights the fact that our wildlife, including the moose herd in state feed areas and the National Elk Refuge, is at a very high risk of impact from this fatal disease. “