Manitoba responding to first case of chronic wasting disease

by Steve Galea | January 10, 2022
a weathered cervid skull

The Oct. 14, 2021 discovery of a suffering male mule deer was confirmed on Nov. 1, 2021 as Manitoba’s first case of chronic wasting disease (CWD).

The deer was found in western Manitoba, near the Saskatchewan border. In immediate response, a temporary control area designated as a No-Cervid Hunting Zone was immediately set up around the area while more assessment was done.

In a Nov. 5 bulletin, the province noted that hunters and harvesters would have a part to play in the containment of CWD. Then, as part of its emergency response, the province announced a community deer hunt in the No-Cervid Hunting Zone from Nov. 26 to Dec. 12. It is hoped that the hunt will contain the spread of CWD in the province and provide information regarding its extent.

Community hunt

Local landowners and Indigenous hunters were allowed to apply for a special permit to participate in the community hunt. Those permits allowed them to harvest mule deer and white-tailed deer in the area. Samples of animals taken were tested at approved drop-off locations where hunters were immediately notified if the animal tested positive for the disease. Though meat from a CWD-positive animal is not known as a human health risk, hunters were advised not to consume it.

The province called the hunt the next step in containing the spread of the highly contagious fatal disease that affects the nervous system of large game animals like deer, elk, caribou, and moose.

At press time, approximately 200 animals had been tested and no additional cases of CWD have been detected.

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