Initial Steps Taken to Implement State CWD Plan
DES MOINES - The first steps were taken this week to implement Iowa’s chronic wasting disease (CWD) containment plan following the first positive detection for the disease in a deer from a captive hunting preserve in Davis County.
The owner of the hunting preserve met with state and USDA veterinary services veterinarians and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to begin the process of determining the origin of the positive animal. This effort is being made to ascertain the risk to wild deer and deer in other captive facilities.
“CWD has been documented in every state surrounding Iowa so we have been planning for this possibility for a long time,” said Dr. Dale Garner, chief of the DNR’s wildlife bureau.
DNA samples are being collected and will be sent to a national wildlife forensics lab in Wyoming for analysis. This will ensure that the deer that tested positive is identified with 100 percent certainty. DNR officers continue to monitor the area around the shooting preserve and are beginning discussions with local landowners and hunters to keep them apprized of the situation.
“It’s certainly bad news to have a positive CWD detection, but the good news is that we have a plan in place to help contain it and the detection was in a captive deer giving us a much better chance of tracing where the disease came from and controlling the spread than if it were in a wild deer,” Garner said.
In the meantime, Garner is urging people in Davis County not to feed wildlife until the biologists and veterinarians have had more time to research this case and the potential of it impacting the wild herd.
“Feeding wildlife congregates animals and makes it much more possible for disease to be transmitted,” said Garner.
The DNR and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.