Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is the most pressing cervid management issue in North America. Through collaborations with outside groups, our research team at the University of Alberta has been studying the spread of CWD within deer populations across Alberta since 2006. Our team’s objective is to improve understanding of the demographic and environmental factors driving contact rates in mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), and to link this information to population-level models to predict observed rates of change in CWD prevalence and risk. Specifically, we will quantify deer contact rates using new global positioning-proximity collars on mule deer to model the effects of sex, genetic relatedness, local deer density, and habitat on direct and indirect contact rates. Our research will be used to inform management decisions and is integral to Alberta’s proactive and adaptive management approach to addressing CWD spread in Alberta and informing the CWD National Strategy.
Watch the video below for more information about our current research on chronic wasting disease.