Science and Risk of improper deer management

When it comes to most diseases in species other then ourselves, we rarely care enough to report on it for more then the initial article. For example, last year when the threat of an ebola outbreak reached the United States; that is all the media would report on. Day or night you could find a news story either on a new case presenting itself, or the current condition of a already infected patient. Even now, after several months there are news stories. Yesterday the ‘Time’ posted an article about a promising new ebola vaccine.

“This far outstrips any historic Ebola outbreak in numbers. The largest outbreak in the past was about 400 cases.” Dr. Bruce Alyward

Photo Courtesy of ‘New York Post’

With this one virus that could possible effect humans, there were countless articles for every form of media. When you look at diseases that effect other species such as deer, there will be a story about the initial findings, then good luck finding something after that. Two weeks ago on March 19, a deer found east of Denver was confirmed to have a rare form of exotic chewing lice (Bovicola Tibialis). The Denver Post, 9NEWS, and did one article each that only consisted of a few paragraphs, because it does not present a threat to humans it won’t appear again unless more animals become infected. In all three articles, the only mention of science is from Dr. Karin Fox, a pathologist with the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (DOW). She goes on to state that farmers should not be worried as it does not effect humans of domestic animals.

Photo Courtesy of Molly Quinn

Another disease that is not scientifically explained to the public is Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Currently it has been identified in a third of Colorado, and several other states. Although the seriousness of this disease is not readily apparent, it has affected residence of Colorado. A co-worker of mine shot a buck several years ago that was suspected of having CWD, officers from DOW requested they be allowed to take the deer in order to test if a Mountain Lion could become infected by consuming the meat.

“Forgive me if I’m somewhat nonchalant about this,… I
consider this a media-driven disease.” Dr. Terry Kreeger

Photo Courtesy of State of Colorado

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