Hunters in Saskatchewan reminded to help in CWD monitoring program

The provincial government is asking for the help of hunters when it comes to monitoring the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease.

Richard Espie from the ministry of environment says CWD was first found in Saskatchewan in 1996, and spread to wild mule deer in 2000. It now can be found in deer, elk and moose.

Espie says the ministry is asking hunters to help keep track of CWD.

“We need the heads for testing because we test the lymph-nodes as well as a portion of the brain stem,” Espie said. “We have offices around the province that can receive heads as well as some drop-off kiosks in key locations, and once we get those heads we sample the tissues necessary and then send them off for testing at Prairie Diagnostics in Saskatoon.”

Espie from the ministry of environment says CWD is a growing concern in Saskatchewan.

“We’ve had the problem here in Saskatchewan for about the last 20 years, and it’s been building and spreading across the province (ever since),” Espie said. “The number of individuals that are contracting it seems to be increasing, as well as the spread of it across the province seems to be increasing slowly as well.”

While there have not any known cases of CWD identified in humans, Espie strongly urges hunters not to eat meat from animals that test positive for CWD. A list of testing sites can be found here.

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