Keep Tennessee CWD Free
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a highly-contagious neurological disease that infects deer, elk, and other cervids. It is similar to mad cow disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (humans). CWD causes wasting, including brain degeneration, extreme weight loss, abnormal behavior, and death. Infected animals may appear to have no symptoms for years while transmitting the disease and are often killed by predators, vehicles, or other diseases before symptoms show. There is no known cure.
The disease is caused by a misfolded protein called a prion, which is nearly impossible to destroy and remains in the environment indefinitely. The prion is transmitted to new animals through direct animal-to-animal contact, and contact with feces, saliva, carcass parts, as well as contaminated environments, such as soil. Once CWD is introduced in the state, it is unlikely to be contained.
Now with CWD confirmed in 25 states, including our neighbors Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, and Virginia (Source: CWD Alliance), it is more important than ever for Tennessee outdoorsmen to be vigilant.
CWD will decimate Tennessee deer herds and change the face of conservation in Tennessee. Currently, hunters and anglers are the single largest source of funds for wildlife management in the state. As CWD affects herds and reduces hunting opportunities, fewer licenses and supplies will be sold, greatly decreasing conservation funds generated from those purchases. As hunter numbers decline, time-honored traditions will disappear from Tennessee’s landscapes and we’ll lose the original advocates for sound conservation policy in the state.
State, regional, and national efforts are underway to expand research of the disease and to strengthen containment efforts. Tennessee Wildlife Federation will continue to be the voice for sportsmen and women, and all those concerned about wildlife conservation in Tennessee. Today, the most important step individuals can take is to educate themselves about how they can make sure they don’t accidentally spread the disease. Pledge now to do your part to keep Tennessee CWD free.