B.C. to harvest 25 deer, will test for spread of fatal chronic wasting disease

Click to play video: 'Warning after chronic wasting disease found in B.C.'
Warning after chronic wasting disease found in B.C.
WATCH: Deer hunters in B.C. are being warned after a devastating disease was found for the first time in the province. Two deer were found with chronic wasting disease in the Kootenays. It's a devastating disease with no known cure that has already affected herds in Alberta, Montana, and Idaho. Paul Johnson has the story. – Feb 3, 2024

A limited deer harvest will take place in the Kootenays this year as the province starts testing for chronic wasting disease.

The province says the harvest will be restricted to 25 deer, and that it will take place within 10 kilometres of positive cases.

The goal is to determine if there are more cases in the area. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is an infectious and fatal disease affecting species in the cervid family, such as deer, elk, moose and caribou.

Click to play video: 'Chronic wasting disease in Manitoba'
Chronic wasting disease in Manitoba

The Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship says a wildlife permit will be issued to the Tobacco Plains Indian Band to collect up to 20 mule deer (primarily males) and five white-tailed deer (males only) by March 31.

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“Following testing, all deer carcasses that test negative for CWD will be used by the community members or donated to food banks,” said the ministry.

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Recently, the province implemented CWD testing in the area. It also placed restrictions on transporting and disposing of any road-killed cervids where cases of CWD were found.

Officials say there is no direct evidence of CWD being transmitted to humans, but Health Canada recommends not eating meat or other parts of an animal infected with chronic wasting disease.

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‘They eat holes in the animals brain’: ‘Zombie Deer Disease’ causing stir in U.S. midwest

The public is encouraged to report any sightings of deer, elk, moose or caribou exhibiting any of these symptoms: weight loss, drooling, poor coordination, stumbling, or generally sick with no obvious reason.

Reports can be sent to the RAPP (Report All Poachers and Polluters) line at 1-877-952-7277.

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More information about chronic wasting disease is available online.

A map showing the area where the harvest will take place is also available online.

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