The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will intensify efforts to survey disease surveillance and seek help from drivers as of 17 September by reporting game-killed wildlife they see along the roads and highways of Arkansas.
Streetcocked deer offer biologists a chance to monitor chronic diseases throughout the state without having to kill deer to get samples.
Chris Middaugh, research biologist for the AGFC, says roadkill trials will allow biologists to spot where CWD may have spread.
"Road-grazed deer are more likely to test positive for CWD than random because deer suffering from the disease react less cautiously or more slowly to the car," said Middaugh. "Because of this higher probability, roadkill samples are very valuable in detecting the disease's range."
According to AJ Riggs, a wildlife health biologist for the AGFC, the increased efforts in spring and autumn correlate with increases in the collisions between stag and vehicle during that time.
"During the first year of sampling, which took place throughout the year, we saw two peak times for roadkill trials," said Riggs. "As soon as the fawn begins to be completely weaned and the annual rutting cycle starts in dollars, in these times the deer's activity increases, which leads to more collisions."
In addition to increasing sampling capabilities, case temperatures help to preserve viable samples until staff can collect them.
"In the summer, samples can be broken down in less than a day due to the heat," said Riggs. "Cooler weather conditions definitely give us a better percentage of viable samples."
Chronic wasting disease is a deadly neurological disorder affecting members of the deer / elk family (cervids). It is similar to "mad cow disease" in cattle. Infected animals will show no signs of disease for a long time, but at a late stage of the disease process they will be thin showing weakness, abnormal behavior, excessive thirst or salivation. Animals usually die shortly after the onset of these signs. To date, 355 Whitetail Deer and 14 Moose have tested positive for CWD.
Report a roadkill to the AGFC as soon as possible at 1-800-482-9262. Please also call this number if you see deer with signs of CWD. All test options for hunters are available at www.agfc.com/cwd.