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GFP to Host Open Houses on Chronic Wasting Disease

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks will host public open houses to provide information and awareness on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in deer and elk herds within the state.

“The department is developing a draft action plan outlining the state’s approach to slowing the spread of this wildlife disease,” stated Chad Switzer, wildlife program administrator. “Not only do we want hunters to attend these events, we encourage game processors, taxidermists, landowners, captive deer and elk operators, conservation leaders and other community members to be part of the discussion. Each event will focus on the biology and history of CWD and preventive measures to reduce the spread. We will also be there to talk about surveillance and outreach strategies as well as answer questions.”

In South Dakota, CWD currently is known to exist in Custer, Fall River, Lawrence and Pennington counties.

About Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD): CWD is a fatal brain disease found in deer and elk caused by an abnormal protein called a prion. In South Dakota, CWD was discovered in seven captive elk facilities during the winter of 1997-98 and in wild populations in 2001 when a positive white-tailed deer in Fall River County was detected during the hunting season. New research findings suggest a negative impact to population growth rates of deer and elk in neighboring western states.