How Michigan is fighting CWD with research, education and collaboration

Michigan

Winter Deer Courtesy: Michigan Department of Natural Resources

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Partners around Michigan are working together after chronic wasting disease was first discovered in wild deer in Ingham County in 2015.

The coalition of partners includes the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan State University, the Michigan Natural Resources Commission, and the Michigan Legislature.

Dr. Russ Mason, the DNR’s executive in residence and adjunct professor at Michigan State University, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, is helping to lead this coalition.

“By working together in our fight against CWD, we are capitalizing on the talents provided by universities and combining resources across the state and federal government,” Mason said. “This will help us move more quickly to identify solutions that will help us manage this unique disease.”

Last year alone, the DNR tested more than 40,000 deer heads for CWD, about 25% of all samples tested in the entire United States. Since testing began, 133 deer in nine Michigan counties have tested positive for the disease.

In addition, the MSU-DNR Chronic Wasting Disease Advisory Group was created in 2018 to identify and fund high-priority CWD research and outreach activities.

The Michigan Legislature provided $4.3 million in funds in 2019 to support these activities as well as to help fund CWD field surveillance.

Michigan joins a list of 26 states and three Canadian provinces with confirmed CWD in wild deer, elk and moose populations. The neurological disease is always fatal to deer, moose and elk infected with it.

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