Conquer Chronic Wasting Disease with Science and Policy

There are health threats to wildlife in Canada and worldwide, with spill over to people and domestic animals, but Canada has been ahead of the pack in planning, preparedness and active stewardship of wildlife health.

Work Done So Far

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is spreading in Canada and threatens to reduce radically populations of White-tailed Deer and Mule Deer (perhaps also Elk, Moose and Caribou) across the country over the next 100 years if it cannot be stopped.

The CCWHC has provided leadership in Canada in finding, understanding and managing CWD. Our national wildlife health program discovered CWD in Canadian wild deer back in 2000. We proposed and organized the Expert Scientific Panel on Chronic Wasting Disease in 2004 to advise Canada on the potential impact of the disease. We coordinated development of Canada’s National CWD Control Strategy which became national policy in 2005.

We were a founding partner in the the establishment of PrioNet Canada, Canada’s Network Centre of Excellence in prion disease research, and we designed and coordinated a full review of the science and management of CWD in Canada in 2011. We have carried out surveillance for CWD in Saskatchewan since 1997 and have conducted large-scale research in order to understand and manage transmission of CWD among wild deer for the past six years.

There is still work to do

Chronic Wasting Disease will not easily be defeated; forward-looking risk assessments predict high social, economic and ecological impacts in Canada if its spread is not somehow curtailed.

To achieve the goal of effectively managing CWD and reducing these potential impacts, more intensive surveillance and continued in-depth research on transmission and spread are essential.  Real progress in science and management will require at least another decade of intensive coordinated effort.

You can help to continue the success story

Canada has been remarkably successful in bringing together its wildlife and veterinary expertise and institutions to track and solve wildlife health issues, uniting wildlife conservation with the health sciences as never before.

We now need to expand our capacity to meet national needs and obligations for stewardship. We need better vigilance for wildlife health problems and better ways to measure wildlife health. We need stronger investigative teams with the resources to respond quickly. We need better communications to inform Canadians and recruit citizen scientists to participate.

Management of CWD in Canada is the responsibility of provincial and territorial wildlife management agencies, which have neither the resources nor the personnel required to defeat CWD.

The mission of the CCWHC is to work in partnership with these agencies to carry out the research, the surveillance and the national policy formulation required to conquer this disease.

Maintenance of our CWD research program requires $500,000 per year and an additional $350,000 annually to carry out surveillance as well as policy development and advocacy.


Your donation to the CCWHC program can make a real difference to the health of Canada’s wildlife. Your support will:

  • Assure the highest level of vigilance for wildlife health threats
  • Assure fast and thorough investigations of wildlife health problems
  • Find for the best solutions to wildlife health issues
  • Empower Canadians to be effective stewards of wildlife health
  • Support the students who will the next generation of wildlife health experts

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