Navajo Nation prepares as border states battle chronic wasting disease

Three of the states bordering the Navajo Nation have recorded constructive circumstances of chronic wasting disease, threatening elk and deer herds each on the reservation and in Arizona.

The tribal nation, which spans Arizona, Utah and New Mexico and borders Colorado, is taken into account a high-risk space for an outbreak. The contagious brain disease, which impacts elk and deer, can quickly unfold via a herd; an an infection at all times ends in dying.

Though there have been no circumstances of the disease transferring from an animal to a human, each cultural practices and conservation funding are in danger if an outbreak happens among the many Navajo Nation’s already-threatened herds.

Gloria Tom, the director of the Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife, stated warming climate and drier seasons have already taken a toll on elk and deer.

“We are mandated by Navajo law to manage, protect and conserve,” Tom said. “If we lose our herds because of disease and climate change, we would not be fulfilling our mandated responsibilities. It would be a failure on our part.”

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