Chronic Wasting Disease can devastate the food chain in Canada

Chronic Wasting Disease can devastate the food chain in Canada

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What is Chronic Wasting Disease? 

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a progressive,nervous system disease known to naturally infect white-tailed deer, mule deer, moose, red deer, elk and reindeer. It can take over a year before an infected animal develops symptoms, which can include major weight loss (wasting), stumbling, listlessness and other neurological symptoms. CWD can affect animals of all ages and some infected animals may die without ever developing the disease. CWD is fatal to animals and there are no treatments or vaccines. CWD has been found in some areas of North America, including Canada, the United States, Norway and South Korea.

What environmental affects does CWD have?

Deer are herbivores, meaning they feed on leaves and plants. Herbivores normally provide the middle link in a food chain. So if CWD is killing all the deer, then a lot of consumers are gonna lose a resource for food. 

What affects does CWD have socially?

CWD can change the way people look at ecosystems because if CWD is killing deer's, their bodies will still be there for awhile until they decompose into the ground. Having people see that can change their point of view on certain ecosystems thinking there bad places. CWD can also change the way people look at ecosystems because some experts believe that CWD can possibly spread to humans so if people have that in their mind they won't want to go to forests or other ecosystems.  

How can we help?

Since there are no treatments for CWD, our best beat to help slow the progression of this disease is containment. Containment starts with determining the geographic area where CWD is present and what percent of the deer population has it. Once that’s known, the rate of how fast CWD spreads can be slowed mainly by reducing buck to doe ratios in a area. We can also continue to research this disease and the animals affected by it to see if we can find a cure for it.  

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