By Dillon Thomas
BOULDER COUNTY, CO – Dozens of mule deer in Boulder County will be tagged and equipped with GPS trackers in the coming weeks. Boulder County officials and Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers are working to track deer in hopes of staying ahead of chronic wasting disease.
“Chronic wasting disease is a neurological disorder,” said Jason Clay, spokesperson for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
The disease often causes deer, moose and elk to act lethargic and often lose their natural fear of humans.
“If you see a deer that often looks sick, or really looks unusual, that may be that animal has chronic wasting disease,” Clay said.
The teams dart the deer, blindfold them, provide oxygen, measure their teeth for age estimation and more.
“We are taking blood samples, tissues samples, so we can send them back to the lab,” Clay said. “We are putting GPS collars on them, so we can understand movement corridors.”
Clay said the study should help Parks and Wildlife experts further understand Colorado wildlife, and how chronic wasting disease could impact the herds.
“The wildlife in this state is what makes Colorado so great,” Clay said. “So, it is best for us to get a better understanding of the disease. It is an ongoing process for us. But, also, so we can manage it.”
The study will take place over a two year period. The collars on the monitored animals will automatically detach when the study is over, so officials can collect them.
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.