Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Expands Chronic Wasting Disease Containment Zone in Panhandle

Action taken in response to disease discovery in roadkill whitetail deer

James Marvin Phelps/Flickr

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission is expanding the state's chronic wasting disease (CWD) Panhandle Containment Zone the disease was discovered earlier this year in a white-tailed deer killed on the road.

Containment Zone 2 now encompasses that portion of the state within the boundaries of a line beginning where Interstate 40 enters from New Mexico in Deaf Smith County going east along I-40 to U.S. Highway 385 in Oldham County. From there it goes north along Highway 385 to Hartley in Hartley County and then back east along U.S. Highway 87 to County Road 47. From there, north along County Road 47 to Farm-to-Market Road 281 before heading west along FM 281 to U.S. 385. Finally, it proceeds north along U.S. 385 to the Oklahoma state line.

"The decision to expand slightly the Panhandle Containment Zone is a direct result of the test positive roadkill discovery," said Dr. Bob Dittmar, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) wildlife veterinarian. "The state's wildlife disease management response focuses on an early detection and containment strategy designed to limit the spread of CWD from the affected area and better understand the distribution and prevalence of the disease."

The test positive roadkill was among 10,104 deer, elk and other susceptible exotic game animal samples collected from a variety of sources by TPWD personnel for CWD testing during the 2017-18 collection year.

In all, TPWD collected 2,203 samples from roadkills, with the rest obtained through mandatory and voluntary hunter harvest submissions.

For the 2017-18 collection season, TPWD surpassed its statewide goal of 6,735 CWD samples.

Sampling objectives were established by TPWD wildlife biologists based on deer densities within each of the 41 Deer Management Units in Texas and other factors to establish sufficient confidence of detection if CWD were present within those localized populations.

Since 2012 when the state first discovered the disease among mule deer in a remote mountain area along the New Mexico border, Texas has recorded 100 confirmed cases of CWD. Of those, 64 were discovered in captive deer breeding pens, 11 were hunter harvested on breeder deer release sites, and 2 were elk from a breeder release site. Of the remaining positives, 20 were free-ranging mule deer, 1 was a free-ranging elk and 2 were free-ranging white-tailed deer.

Details about each CWD detection in Texas are available on TPWD's web site.

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