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Tuesday, August 7 • 9:20am - 9:40am
SYMPOSIA-03: A Measured Response: The Challenges Associated with Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Communications

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AUTHORS: M. Cory Gray, Keith A. Stephens, Jennifer R. Ballard, and Christopher R. Middaugh – Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

ABSTRACT: Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was discovered in Newton County, Arkansas in February 2016.  Not only was CWD identified in a free-ranging white-tailed deer but also in Arkansas’s free-ranging elk herd.  Once CWD presence was confirmed, agency staff immediately implemented actions to determine the prevalence and distribution of the disease and to begin discussions on future management.  One fundamental aspect of the agency’s response and continued actions is communication with hunters and other constituents.  The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) have found that, in regards to communication of CWD management to the public, a measured response is crucial.  An agency that relies on hunters to manage the resource and provide valuable funding through hunting license sales must balance discouraging participation by over-messaging any speculated harm of the disease, while avoiding minimization of the science and portraying any sense of complacency.   AGFC has attempted complete transparency and open communication to educate hunters and other constituents on what is known about CWD in Arkansas and the value of developing a strong working relationship.  The messaging was targeted statewide, incorporated diverse media outlets, and active dialogue, while aiming to consistently build long-term partnerships.  The AGFC believes that any attempts to manage CWD without the valuable partnership of Arkansas’s hunters and the various stakeholders would be sure to fail.  The presenter will discuss in further detail the various aspects and challenges the agency faces as it continues to manage CWD and the various trials associated with keeping a team approach active and viable.  

920AM pdf

Tuesday August 7, 2018 9:20am - 9:40am MDT
Assembly Hall C

Attendees (2)