CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE (CWD) SURVEILLANCE AND TESTING
On December 16, 2020, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Wildlife Health Laboratory confirmed that an elk in Grand Teton National Park tested positive for CWD. In response, the National Elk Refuge is increasing surveillance during all field operations to watch for animals displaying symptoms of CWD; euthanizing and testing suspect animals; coordinating public outreach with state, federal, and local partners; and continuing to pursue carcass disposal options with community stakeholder. For more information, please read our response strategy (pdf).
Galloway, N.L., R.J. Monello, D. Brimeyer, E.K. Cole and N.T. Hobbs. 2021. "Supporting Adaptive Management with Ecological Forecasting: Chronic Wasting Disease in the Jackson Elk Herd". Ecosphere 12(10). The model provides a framework examining the impacts of CWD on the Jackson elk herd, for monitoring the effects of CWD over time, and adaptively managing for disease effects. Initial forecasts suggest CWD may reach a mean prevalence in the Jackson elk herd of 12%, but uncertainty of this forecast is large, and we cannot rule out a prevalence as high as 20% within 5 years of introduction of the disease. The model predicts that a CWD prevalence of 7% will cause the Jackson elk herd to decline, but this assumes a complete absence of cow harvest in the population. Currently there is significant cow elk harvest in the Jackson Elk Herd, and therefore future implications of the recent CWD infection in the Jackson Elk Herd are significant and negative for both future elk population growth rate and hunter opportunity. Click here to read the full article.