$40,000 Pledged by Foundation to Monitor Deadly Disease in Deer
Tallahassee, FL (November 25, 2019) – The nonprofit Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida recently announced a $40,000 grant to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to support the agency’s ongoing efforts to monitor deer in Florida for chronic wasting disease (CWD).
CWD, which has not been detected in Florida, is a transmissible neurological disease believed to be caused by an abnormal protein called a prion. It is a fatal disease for all members of the deer family and is currently documented in white-tailed deer, mule deer, sika deer, elk, moose and caribou. Signs of the disease usually appear one and a half to three years after initial exposure and can include extreme weight loss and abnormal behaviors such as listlessness, lowering of the head, inattentiveness toward people, walking in circles, staggering and standing with a wide stance.
FWC initiated a CWD monitoring program in 2002 and to date has tested more than 13,000 hunter-killed, road-killed and sick or diseased deer for CWD. Expanded surveillance is necessary to confirm Florida remains free of CWD. If CWD was detected in Florida, surveillance efforts would allow FWC and its partners to quickly implement their comprehensive response plan to contain the disease. The grant will fund a two-year surge in collection and analysis, quadrupling previous collections to address geographic gaps.
“Chronic wasting disease poses a huge threat to Florida’s deer population,” said Foundation president and CEO Andrew Walker. “We are committed to partnering with FWC to ensure Florida is prepared to respond if CWD is detected in this state.”
Grant funding came from the “Wildlife Foundation of Florida” license plate, which includes an image of a deer. $25 from each purchase of the deer tag supports protection and management of lands open to public hunting, hunting safety programs and training in archery and other shooting sports for women and men of all ages and backgrounds.
About the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida
The Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and other public and private partners to conserve Florida’s native animals and plants and the lands and waters they need to survive. Since its founding in 1994, the Foundation has raised and donated $36 million to conservation and outdoor recreation and education. More information can be found at wildlifeflorida.org.