June 24, 2020
Randy Zellers Assistant Chief of Communications
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will host a special virtual roundtable meeting with professionals in the wildlife management and veterinary fields to discuss management strategies and current science involving Chronic Wasting Disease beginning at 8:30 a.m. June 25. The virtual meeting will be streamed live on the AGFC’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/ArkansasGameandFish.
It has been four years since CWD, a fatal, transmissible disease in the deer and elk family, was detected in Arkansas. Since the first confirmation of the disease in Arkansas in 2016, it has been found in 13 Arkansas counties. Other southeastern states, including Mississippi and Tennessee, also have detected the disease in separate cases from the Arkansas outbreak.
Cory Gray, chief of the AGFC’s Research, Evaluation and Compliance Division, says it is important to remain vigilant about the management of CWD, and this meeting will benefit wildlife managers as we continue to deal with this disease on the landscape.
“It is always beneficial to gather wildlife professionals together to discuss complex topics to learn about the various aspects of management,” Gray said. “Although we are not aware of any ‘new science’ that would cause a turning point in our current management strategy, I am sure this conversation will explore various perspectives of known science and our ability to apply it as we continue to develop long-term management plans for Arkansas’s deer herd, hunters and wildlife enthusiasts.”
In addition to AGFC staff, many well-respected professionals in the field of wildlife management and wildlife veterinary science will be in attendance via Internet conferencing. Commissioners from the AGFC also will be on hand to learn more about the complexities of managing this disease in wild populations. Social distancing protocols will limit the number of individuals that may attend in-person to only essential personnel and participants, but the entire meeting will be available via live stream for the public to view.