UPDATE: Conservation officers have located the animals they were concerned about in regards to chronic wasting disease. According to a social media post from the B.C. Conservation Service, the animals thought to be harvested south of Calgary by Nanaimo hunters have been located and the investigation continues.
“The BCCOS and Wildlife Management (FLNRORD) would like to extend their appreciation to those who responded to our concerns,” the post noted.
PREVIOUSLY POSTED: Conservation officers are making an urgent request for information after Nanaimo hunters may have harvested deer in an area in Alberta known for cases of chronic wasting disease.
The B.C. Conservation Officer Service advised via social media Thursday that it is “urgently asking the public for information” on the case. The post notes that COs received a tip that hunters harvested a mule deer south of Calgary and brought the carcass back to Nanaimo for processing.
“The concern is that the hunt took place in an area known for CWD, which can be devastating for wildlife populations,” the post notes. “Although its presence has yet to be detected in B.C., human importation of infected carcasses is the highest threat of introduction to B.C. wildlife.”
COs say the disease cannot spread to humans, but deer meat infected with CWD “is not fit for human consumption.”
The province has been monitoring for the disease since 2002, notes the post, with the Peace and East Kootenay regions considered high-risk areas for disease entry into B.C.
“No cases of CWD have been found in B.C., however, more sampling is needed to confirm B.C.’s CWD-free status and inform any additional response,” the conservation service notes.
B.C.’s Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development released an information bulletin earlier this fall after Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks discovered nine animals with chronic wasting disease south of the B.C. border.
The information bulletin notes that CWD is a progressive, fatal nervous-system disease affecting mule deer, white-tailed deer, moose and elk. It can spread when a healthy animal comes in contact with an infected animal or a contaminated environment. Animals with CWD may exhibit symptoms such as thinness, drooling and stumbling.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Report All Poachers and Polluters hotline at 1-877-952-7277.
For more information on CWD, visit www.gov.bc.ca/chronicwastingdisease.ca.