Boulder to track deer with chronic wasting disease instead of killing them |

Boulder to track deer with chronic wasting disease instead of killing them

BOULDER – Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks Department want to study chronic wasting disease in a radically new way, tracking infected deer instead of killing them.They are proposing capturing between 100 and 120 deer, testing them for the disease, tagging them with radio collars, then release them back into the wild to find out how the disease affects the animals that contract it and how it spreads.”It’ll be the first study of its type, probably, in the entire United States, that attempts to look at the survivorship of infected animals and healthy animals,” said Charles Southwick, a University of Colorado ecologist who is serving as a consultant to the program.Wildlife managers have been dealing with chronic wasting disease by killing deer in “hot spot” populations where the disease has been found, hoping to reduce its prevalence.Southwick and others say that approach is flawed because otherwise healthy deer are often killed.Rangers in Rocky Mountain National Park, meanwhile, are already in the middle of a program in which they capture deer and test them for the disease using a tonsil biopsy, and then kill infected ones.The plan is scheduled to begin in August.

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