DNR trains ‘MDC ambassadors’ to help fight disease

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(RI archive photo)

A series of courses are underway in northeast Iowa that focus on chronic wasting disease in deer.

Adam Janke, wildlife specialist at Iowa State University, leads the program called CWD Ambassadors. of chronic wasting disease, ”he says.

Janke says Ambassadors can share their knowledge after the program ends.
He says they can help wildlife biologists at DNR and ISU Extension spread awareness of how they are dealing with the disease and some of the key behaviors to prevent it from spreading.

CWD is still fatal to deer and has been found in ten of Iowa’s 99 counties. Janke says they hope to keep the spread limited. “By doing things like avoiding conditions that concentrate deer. Like mineral supplements or artificial feeding that concentrates deer in certain places and creates conditions favorable for the spread of chronic wasting disease, ”explains Janke.

He says they will also learn the importance of identifying deer that may be infected.
“Many deer with chronic wasting disease may be asymptomatic. And so it’s not necessarily that we’re looking for sick deer, ”Janke explains. “And if we see sick deer in the landscape, we want to report them to conservation officers or wildlife biologists. “

Several border states around Iowa have seen more cases of CWD in more than their counties. “I don’t know if it has necessarily spread faster in some of these border states. But what we see there is that he’s actually been in this landscape for longer, ”he says.

Janke, outbreaks in other states have helped Iowa better manage the disease. “Because we are frankly learning from some of the mistakes that have been made in some of these other states. And we know a lot more about this disease now – and we think we can be a little more proactive and specific in our management practices, ”Janke said.

CWD Ambassador training begins in northeast Iowa, as these are the counties where the state has seen positive CWD cases. Classes are held in Waukon throughout this month.


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