- A weeklong project in southwestern Routt County aimed
at stopping the spread of chronic wasting disease on the Western Slope
ended late Friday with 420 deer and elk having been killed, said Todd
a spokesman for the Colorado Division of Wildlife.
- "We finished late today and we feel we were very
successful in getting as many animals as possible that might have been
exposed to chronic wasting disease," Malmsbury said. "We wanted
to finish the culling operation prior to the start of the spring migration,
and today the animals started to move toward their summer
- The culling effort was started Monday after five wild
deer were diagnosed as positive for the fatal brain disease that affects
elk and deer. There were 136 elk and 284 deer killed in the operation,
- As many as 40 DOW and U.S. Department of Agriculture
Wildlife Services personnel were active in the project along with
from several hunting and sportsmen organizations.
- The animals that were killed were taken to a central
processing area where they were beheaded. There is no live test for CWD;
it only can be found by inspecting the brains of infected animals.
- It's still unknown how the disease, which causes lesions
and eats microscopic holes in the brains of its victims, made its way
the Continental Divide. Prior to the discovery of the disease along the
Williams Fork River drainage, the ailment was supposedly contained to an
endemic area in northeastern Col- orado and southwest Wyoming.
- Malmsbury said the success of the culling project hinged
on the cooperation of local ranchers.
- "We greatly appreciate their efforts to get us onto
their land," Malmsbury said. "The entire community in
Colorado was very supportive of our project and what we were trying to
- Malmsbury said the heads will be tested for CWD at a
lab at Colorado State University with results expected in about two
- No other culling is planned, although later this summer
the division may sell some special hunting licenses for the area where
CWD was found, Malmsbury said.
- Dave Buchanan can be reached via e-mail at
com. © 2002 Cox Newspapers, Inc.