Colorado Parks and Wildlife along with the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Advisory Group seek public comment on CWD management plan.
From October 1 – 31, 2018, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is asking for interested individuals to review and comment on the chronic wasting disease (CWD) adaptive management plan created by the CWD Advisory Group. Your comments will be carefully considered before management actions are voted on by the CPW Commission in January.
There are many problems facing our state’s deer and elk herds and CPW is working to overcome these challenges to stabilize, sustain and increase populations and habitats throughout the state.
CWD is one area of increasing concern, both in Colorado and across the nation. The agency is working on adaptive management tactics to prevent further spread of CWD and controlling it in herds that are already infected.
What is CWD?
CWD is a fatal nervous system disease found in deer, elk and moose. It belongs to a family of diseases caused by prions (pree-ons, a misfolded protein). This particular prion disease attacks the brains of infected deer, elk and to a lesser extent moose, causing the animals to display abnormal behavior, become uncoordinated and emaciated, and eventually die.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife researchers and biologists have studied CWD on numerous fronts since the 1960s. Their work and expertise on this disease is recognized both nationally and internationally.
Why take action on CWD now?
In Colorado, CWD has been found in more than half of the deer herds and about one third of elk herds. The number of animals in these herds infected with CWD varies across the state, but current science-based information estimates high infection rates in several herds. Without management actions, CWD has the potential to cause severe population declines in Colorado’s deer herds.
There is no quick-fix when it comes to managing CWD and it is not a disease that can be vaccinated against – there is no cure at this point. Our success will be determined by steady efforts to control CWD over decades, not months or years. Doing nothing is not an option when we look at the long-term health of our wildlife.
CPW has been working with the CWD Advisory Group since March 2018 to draft a CWD Response Plan for the state. Your input on the plan is invaluable to the agency and will inform management actions going forward.
The CWD Advisory Group has investigated the history of management practices in Colorado and other states in order to come up with recommendations that:
- Manage prevalence rates of CWD in wild deer and elk
- Control spread of infection to new herds
- Provide the public with science-based information regarding CWD
- Maintain Colorado’s robust deer and elk herds to support public hunting and viewing opportunity
The CWD Advisory Group will be presenting its draft plan for consideration at the November CPW Commission meeting in Burlington.
For additional information and updates on CWD in Colorado, visit CPW’s CWD page at cpw.state.co.us/cwd.
Written by Travis Duncan. Duncan is a public information officer for the Colorado Parks and Wildlife.