Moose near Libby tests positive for chronic wasting disease

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Two bull moose feed together in Glacier National Park. A moose north of Libby was found to have chronic wasting disease.

A moose in Northwest Montana has tested positive for chronic wasting disease, marking the first time the disease has been detected in the species in the state, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

The bull moose was harvested by a hunter in late October near Pulpit Mountain north of Troy. The harvest occurred less than a half a mile to the west of the existing Libby Chronic Wasting Disease Management Zone.

State officials collected the voluntary sample from the moose and submitted it for testing to the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab at Colorado State University in Colorado. The lab identified the animal to be a suspected CWD infection and confirmed the positive detection with a second test.

The disease is fatal and can affect the nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. It was first detected in white-tailed deer in the Libby area earlier this year, leading to the creation of the Libby CWD Management Zone.

To date, there have been 30 positive detections in deer, five of which were harvested by hunters during archery and general hunting season. The detections of infected deer have all occurred within the management area ­— which encompasses roughly 10 miles around known detection sites — and all but one has been centralized near the city center.

The state wildlife agency plans to conduct CWD surveillance through the hunting season and review sample results after the season to potentially update future sampling efforts. The agency encourages hunters to submit animals for testing in areas adjacent to the Libby CWD Management Zone.

If hunters are interested in having their harvested deer, elk or moose tested, this fall FWP will pay for sampling for hunters who collect their own samples and send them to the agency’s lab in Bozeman.

For more information, visit fwp.mt.gov/cwd.

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