So when you hear the phrase Zombie Deer, do wild visions of undead deer feasting on other deer come to your mind?

It does to mine, even though that's not at all what Zombie Deer Disease AKA Chronic Wasting Disease does to wildlife.

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What Is Chronic Wasting Disease?

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a chronic and fatal neurological disease that affects deer, elk, moose, reindeer, and other members of the Cervid Family according to the NJ Department of Wildlife. 

It's currently running rampant in certain parts of the country and could be moving towards Jersey.

zombie deer disease, CWD, deer
Photo by Divide By Zero on Unsplash

By the way, the reason it's called zombie deer disease is that animals who come down with the sickness are often seen drooling, acting listless, and suffering from a lack of coordination.

Kind of like how zombies are portrayed in movies.

How Is The NJ Department Of Wildlife Fighting CWD?

According to the NJ DEP's website, Chronic Wasting Disease is being prevented in New Jersey with a couple of different steps.

Hunters are banned from bringing any whole deer (or other cervid) carcasses into Jersey from other states.

This is good because our neighboring state of Pennsylvania is not only a big hunting state but also has seen an increase in the neighbor of CWD cases.

pennsylvania state capitol
Photo by Katherine McAdoo on Unsplash

The NJ DEP also has a ban on non-taxidermied heads of deer and other cervid carcasses being transported into or out of Jersey to other states. Learn more about how the NJ DEP is combating CWD here. 

Can Chronic Wasting Disease Transfer From Deer To Humans?

According to APP, there have been no recorded cases of Chronic Wasting Disease spreading to humans and at this point, there aren't any cases of the disease reported in New Jersey.

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That being said, scientists still believe that we should be prepared just in case there is some spillover from deer to humans.

Kind of like when there were mad cow disease outbreaks a few years ago.

So for now we can take a deep sigh of relief, but PA has reported Chronic Wasting Disease in 14 counties according to APP so it could just be a matter of time until CWD creeps into the Garden State.

deer, cwd,
Photo by Scott Carroll on Unsplash

This could be detrimental because Jersey has a large population of deer, and also a large population of hunters.

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Gallery Credit: Matt Ryan

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