The debilitating neurological disease that has affected much of the deer population in the United States has now been confirmed in Yellowstone National Park.
Chronic wasting disease, commonly referred to as CWD, is a fatal and contagious disease that can affect deer, elk, and moose, and there is currently no known vaccine or treatment for the disease. It was believed that the spread of the sickness had not yet reached Yellowstone National Park, but that changed when the national park released this statement yesterday:
“Yellowstone National Park and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) recently confirmed the presence of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in the carcass of an adult mule deer buck found near Yellowstone Lake in the southeastern section of the park.
This is the first confirmed positive detection of the disease in Yellowstone National Park.”
CWD has been around since the 1960’s, and though it’s been handled for decades, it seems to be running more rampant in recent years. Animals suffering from the disease go through physiological and behavioral changes due to the illness reaching their brain, and those changes usually lead to emaciation and eventually death.
Yellowstone National Park was able to confirm that CWD had reached within its borders after they tracked a deer they had fitted with a radio collar, which sent signals back to biologists that led them to believe it had suffered and died from symptoms usually caused by chronic wasting.
The statement went on to explain how they tracked down the deer’s carcass, where it was located, and the test results from lab diagnostics:
“In coordination with Yellowstone staff, (the Wyoming Game & Fish Department) located the carcass on the Promontory, a landmass that separates the South and Southeast arms of Yellowstone Lake and collected samples for testing.
The samples tested positive for Chronic Waste Disease based on multiple diagnostic tests performed at WGFD’s Wildlife Health Laboratory.”
Though Yellowstone National Park insists that much of the wildlife in their park is healthy, they have asked visitors to keep an eye out for any animals that may appear to be sick, and to, of course, stay away from them.
But they say that about normal, healthy animals as well…