Most worrisome to infectious disease authorities is that Grand Teton Park, where Jackson Hole CWD Elk Case No. âThis wakeup call of having a CWD-positive elk in Jackson Hole isnât likely to change anything for the state of Wyoming,â Smith says, noting that the stateâs latest stalling tactic has been asking citizens what they want rather than heeding an overwhelming body of scientific evidence.â. Bull Elk battle in the middle of the Madison river in Yellowstone National Park.. What makes Jackson Hole geo-biologically unique, Roffe says, is that never before has the debilitating plague reached such a large concentration of wintering wild elk (or any deer family species) which, come spring, will disperse across thousands of square miles throughout the three-state Greater Yellowstone region. âHeaven help us if a human ever catches a case of CWD or if the number of CWD cases explodes in Wyoming in our region,â he said. The prions can continue to alter the brain without any resistance. âWeâve got a real mess now. Every winter, as the snows fall deep in the high country of Yellowstone, between 7,000 and 9,000 elk migrate down into the Jackson Valley were they are fed through the harshest part of the season by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. âMaybe today thereâs too much scientific demand [reliance on science and the opinion of scientists). They go on: "From the perspective of control and management of infectious diseases, anything that aggregates animals will, in most circumstances, also increase the opportunity for disease transmission. When did they know what was coming? Just months after the CWD forum and Coleâs warning, Wyoming State Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Mary Wood stood before the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission and said, âIf we want to really look at proactive management, the single most proactive thing we can do for feedgrounds in the face of CWD is to find ways to reduce reliance on feed before CWD ever hits.â She then noted, âWe know that will occur. Some say weâll come up with a vaccine, which we donât have. âWe continue to be concerned about the steady progression of CWD westward across Wyoming and of course this CWD-positive elk in close proximity to elk feedgrounds is of particular concern,â he said. With the money that was left over from the land purchase, managers bought supplemental feed for elk. Although CWDâs arrival in Jackson Hole elk has long been anticipated, it is important to mention that solid evidence comes with no small amount of bitter irony. In his critique of the Elk Refuge feeding step-down plan, Roffe expresses incredulity that a landscape-level infectious disease like CWD is not being met with a comprehensive strategy from federal and state agencies in the three-state Greater Yellowstone region. Federal and state feeding programs for elk and deer are excellent ways of spreading the disease quickly and with devastating efficiency. The primary disease of concern is a strain variation of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE), recognized among deer species as Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Try two decades ago,â he said. One of the cardinal rules in prevention and containment of a contagious disease is taking aggressive measures to limit possibilities for exposure, including minimizing large gatherings of potential victims and carriers. ©1986 Panda Symbol WWF Outfitters and guides in Wyoming vociferously claim that if artificial feeding is phased out in the western part of their state thousands of elk will starve to death. Back in the late 1990s, the Clinton Administration was poised to support the gradual phase out of feeding. Should it ever occur, the Elk Refuge action plan calls for an incident command to be established. âIt is incumbent upon wildlife managers to explore ways to manage CWD prevalence and contribute to the broader understanding of effective CWD management. Other research suggests certain populations may be able to survive, bolstered by genetic selection and some level of hunting season restrictions,â Wyomingâs CWD Plan states. 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