A fatal deer disease is getting closer to Maine.
For more than 20 years, deer biologists across the Northeast have kept a wary eye to the west as chronic wasting disease was found in deer in several states. Late this summer, the disease was found in a single deer at a Quebec deer farm just north of Montreal, again raising the threat that the disease might show up here in Maine for the first time.
“Prior to the detection in Quebec, we’ve been more focused on monitoring [the situation] here in Maine and making sure we would find it if it did crop up here in Maine,” said Nathan Bieber, the deer biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. “But now that it’s popped up in Quebec we’re more concerned with response rather than just monitoring.”
Bieber said the wildlife department is considering appropriate responses should the disease make its way to Maine, but stressed that the disease has not been found here. It has not been found in New Hampshire or Vermont, either, but a few cases were identified in New York state more than a decade ago; wildlife officials in that state say the disease was eradicated and has not been found in the deer herd since.