WAUKON - Chronic wasting disease (CWD) was not detected in three elk harvested last month in Allamakee County. A brain sample from another elk found dead on March 4 has also been collected, but the results have not yet been completed on that animal. The animals are being harvested and tested for CWD which is a threat to whitetail deer.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources, working in conjunction with the state veterinarian's office with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, collected samples from the elk because it was unknown where the animals originated since there are no wild herds in Iowa.
At least two other elk believed to be roaming in Allamakee County are still being sought.
DNR Wildlife Bureau Chief Dale Garner said the effort to harvest and sample the elk because of their unknown origin is a preventative measure against the spread of CWD in the wild deer herd.
CWD was detected for whitetail deer in southeastern Minnesota earlier this winter in area where there had been a captive elk herd. More recently, CWD was detected from a wild deer in Jo Daviess County, just across the Mississippi River in northwestern Illinois.
While CWD has not yet been detected in Iowa, it has been confirmed in all of the bordering states.
"It really is in the best interests of our state to take every preventative measure we can to stop the potential of having these diseases here," said Garner.
DNR is continuing to locate any elk of unknown origin and if the public has any information they may call DNR Wildlife Biologist Terry Haindfield at 563-546-7960.