Pratt Wildlife and Parks officials are planning extra precautions to monitor the health of deer in Kansas, following the recent occurrence of chronic wasting disease in a captive elk herd near Anthony.
The state agency will collect tissue specimens from deer taken by hunters in the vicinity of that facility, as well as other game ranches around the state, during the Jan. 1-13 whitetail antlerless-only deer season.
Chronic wasting disease was first documented by biologists in the mid-1960's in captive deer held at wildlife research facilities in Fort Collins, Colo. The disease is rare and geographically limited.
Fewer than 500 cases have been documented since monitoring began in 1981, mostly in captive herds and among free-ranging mule deer in northeast Colorado, southeast Wyoming and the Nebraska Panhandle.
The disease is similar to scrapie in sheep and mad cow disease in cattle, but there is no evidence it has been transmitted to domestic livestock. The disease is most prevalent among captive deer and elk.
CWD can spread from elk to deer, and vice versa, so Kansas officials are taking extra precautions. The infected animal at the privately-owned Anthony game ranch had been purchased from an elk ranch in Colorado.
Three game ranches in Kansas had purchased 11 animals from the same area in Colorado.