With hunting season in full swing in Saskatchewan, Chronic wasting disease (CWD) testing drop-off locations are open for another year.
Hunters are encouraged to submit deer, moose and elk samples for testing. While samples can be submitted from animals harvested anywhere in the province, the Ministry of Environment is focusing on wildlife management zones (WMZ) 2W, 9, 10, 37, 47, 50 and 55. CWD has now been detected in 60 of the province’s 83 WMZs.
“Since the province began monitoring over 25 years ago, we have seen the spread and prevalence of chronic wasting disease increase in the province,” Environment Minister Christine Tell said in a press release. “We rely on hunters submitting samples for testing so we can continue to measure and manage CWD, and we are grateful to their ongoing support in those efforts.”
This year the province will also be testing wildlife for bovine tuberculosis (bovine TB) in wildlife management zones 37 and 48 in response to detection of the disease in cattle earlier this year.
Voluntary bovine TB testing of elk, moose, white-tailed deer, and mule deer from the area will allow the province to monitor the disease. While it was detected in a cattle herd on an east central farm earlier this year, bovine TB has never been detected in wildlife in Saskatchewan.
The process to submit a sample for CWD or for bovine TB is the same. Hunters with samples can visit cwdsk.ca to register and receive a unique tracking number. Samples should be double bagged, with the tracking number on the outside of the bag, before being brought to any CWD drop off location. There is no charge for a CWD or bovine TB test.
CWD results will be posted on saskatchewan.ca/cwd. Hunters will be notified directly if a positive bovine TB result is detected.
CWD is an infectious central nervous system disease in cervids such as deer, moose, and elk, for which there is no known cure. It is always fatal in affected animals, and high infection rates can impact populations. The disease has become established across most of southern Saskatchewan, and testing provides the Ministry of Environment with invaluable information to monitor the spread and manage conservation efforts.
Bovine TB is a contagious, chronic bacterial infection that causes chronic debilitation and weight loss, and typically affects the respiratory system of affected animals. While it is possible for bovine TB to spread from animals to people, it is extremely rare. Visit saskatchewan.ca/wildlife-issues for more information about bovine TB, including safe field dressing recommendations, signs of bovine TB in animals and how to submit a sample for testing.