Chronic Wasting Disease - What is being done in B.C.?
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has not been detected in B.C. We have an opportunity to be proactive and protect B.C. cervids by preventing CWD from entering the province. The B.C. CWD Program (initiated in 2002) is founded on prevention, surveillance and preparedness.
Surveillance is a critical component of disease management and is required to confirm B.C.’s CWD status (in free-ranging cervid populations) and if introduced, to detect the disease as soon as possible.
How can you help?
You can be part of the solution by learning about the risks, following recommendations and regulations, reporting sick animals and submitting harvested deer, elk and moose heads for testing.
Understand the risks
Transporting infected carcasses and tissues into B.C. is the biggest threat of introduction to B.C. cervid populations. If you hunt outside of B.C. do not bring intact carcasses or any high-risk tissues (brain, spinal cord, lymph nodes, organs) back to B.C. This applies to all jurisdictions but is particularly critical if that area has CWD. The use of cervid materials (i.e. deer urine or scents) that may contain CWD prions also poses a risk. There are regulations outlined in the B.C. Hunting Regulations that were created to reduce the risk of CWD entry to B.C. It is important and common practice to leave the high-risk tissues at the kill site to avoid moving infected tissues to new areas.
Report sick animals
Whether you are in the backcountry or in your backyard, you can help. If you see a deer, elk, moose or caribou exhibiting any of these symptoms: weight loss, drooling, poor coordination, stumbling, generally sick with no obvious reason, please report to the 24/7 Report All Poachers and Polluters Line (1-877-952-7277) or the B.C. Wildlife Health Program.
Submit a head for testing
If the disease does enter B.C., detecting it as early as possible will improve our chances of managing it. Hunters are encouraged to submit any deer, elk or moose head for CWD testing. This is voluntary in most parts of B.C. but will be mandatory for all white-tailed and mule deer harvested September 1st, 2020 to December 20th, 2020in Management Units 4-1, 4-2, 4-3, 4-4, 4-5, 4-6 and 4-7.
The B.C. Wildlife Health Program recognizes the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation and anglers, hunters, trappers and guides who contribute to the Trust, for making a significant financial contribution to support the Chronic Wasting Disease project in B.C. Without such support, this project would not have been possible.