Elk Research Foundation

Project 1905 - CWD Research for Rectal Biopsy on Farmed Elk

In April 2019, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry shared the news that a farmed elk bull had tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease. The bull was two years old and was injured during routine herd maintenance, which resulted in the animal's death.

ERF Project 1905 allows the foundation to continue work with Dr. Nick Haley in efforts to provide additional scientific support for the rectal biopsy being used for an ante-mortem test for farmed elk. This project is similar to projects done on CWD-positive whitetail deer in the United States and ERF Project 1401 on a CWD-positive elk herd in Saskatchewan. Though the results for the rectal biopsy for elk have been extremely encouraging, USDA APHIS has told NAEBA additional studies are needed before the test can be commonly used in certain situations. The ERF hopes Project 1905 will provide more of that research.

The herd's depopulation in June 2019 allows samples to be harvested for Dr. Haley. The ERF sincerely thanks the herd owners, Dr. Justin Roach and Dr. Rod Hall of ODAFF, Drs. Tracy Nichols and Nancy Hannaway of USDA APHIS and Dr. Nick Haley of Midwestern State University to make this research possible.

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