PROVIDENCE – The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) will host an informational program on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) this month in West Warwick. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CWD has been found in wild and captive deer and elk in 24 states including states in the Midwest, Southwest, and limited areas on the East Coast. The disease has not yet been found in any New England state.
Dylan Ferreira, a wildlife biologist in DEM’s Division of Fish & Wildlife, and wildlife disease professionals from the Northeast Wildlife Disease Cooperative will inform participants about CWD and discuss disease concerns, current surveillance methods, preventative measures, and how hunters can help keep Rhode Island deer herds free of CWD.
The program will be held on:
Wednesday, April 24 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. West Warwick Public Library 1043 Main Street, West Warwick
“Although it has not yet been detected in Rhode Island, CWD is a deadly disease that would negatively impact white-tailed deer populations, other wildlife, hunters, wildlife enthusiasts, and others,” said Ferreira. “Join us at this lecture to learn about CWD and how you can help prevent the disease from entering Rhode Island.”
A progressive neurological disease that is always fatal to cervids (a term referring to members of the Cervidae family, which include white-tailed and mule deer, elk, moose, and caribou among others), CWD is readily spread from cervid to cervid and through contact with animal saliva, feces, urine, and carcass parts. There is no cure or vaccine for CWD. DEM’s Division of Fish & Wildlife continues to work assertively to keep this disease out of Rhode Island.
Along with annual monitoring efforts on hunter-harvested, road-killed, and reported sick deer, DEM has enacted regulations pertaining to the feeding/baiting, importation, and possession of specific carcass parts and live cervids, particularly from CWD-endemic areas. Last year, DEM banned the use or possession of deer scents/lures that contain cervid (including deer, moose, elk) urine or any bodily material while taking, attempting to take, attracting, or scouting wildlife. This new regulation is an extra precautionary step to further minimize the potential for CWD to be introduced into Rhode Island.