CWD spatial spread analyses with ALCES software

Project funded by Alberta Environment and Parks

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is an emerging threat to cervid (deer, moose, and elk) populations in North America. In Canada, there is significant potential for negative social, cultural, and economic effects as the disease becomes endemic in cervid populations. A growing body of research is working to explain the spread of CWD, but a better understanding of factors influencing spread is needed to predict spread and future outcome scenarios so that management plans can be made, and actions can be taken. We will compile population and field data on mule deer and use the data to parameterize a spatially explicit model using the software, ALCES, which has been modified to address disease transmission. The model will be calibrated based on past observations of known CWD-positive cases to quantify the spread of the disease and predict its future movement due to population interactions and environmental factors. With this information, ALCES will be used to create management scenarios and predict best courses of action.