A working group of 31 Wyoming residents released a report with their recommendations on how to manage Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in the state.
CWD is a contagious brain disease affecting deer, elk and moose that usually leads to death. The working group is part of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department's effort to rewrite its management plan for the disease. The group used information from the general public, CWD and epidemiology experts and other stakeholders to craft the recommendations.
One of the nine main recommendations to Game and Fish is to reduce the number of artificial gathering points for those animals like an elk feedground.
Brant Shumaker, an associate professor in the Department of Veterinary Sciences at the University of Wyoming and a member of the working group, is serving as a representative of scientists on the CWD working group. He said the group tried very hard to come up with good management with the tools that are currently available.
"But I don't think that these recommendations necessarily will stop CWD in its tracks. It will hopefully contribute to lowering the impact of the disease and slow the spread," he said.
Shumaker said it's now up to Game and Fish to choose which recommendations will go in its management plan.
"To the extent that we can achieve consensus and buying from various stakeholder groups, there's a lot of recommendations that will give the Game and Fish options for how to go about controlling the disease or at least things to try in various areas of the state."
Game and Fish updated its CWD management plan in 2016, but it was seen as ineffective in controlling the disease by other states dealing with CWD as well. The department is currently rewriting its management plan to possibly include some of the working groups recommendations. The management plan rewrite will be open for public comment through January 15. There will be public meetings throughout the state in December.
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