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16 moose calves found dead, what caused them to die

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - Throughout April, more than 20 animals from the deer family have been found dead. Sixteen of them have been moose calves, one was an adult moose and at least four mule deer have been found to have died from Adenovirus Hemorrhagic Disease (AHD).

AHD is tough for Fish and Game to detect, as symptoms don't often present on the outside.

"The symptoms are mostly internal. So when we come across, a carcass, we can dissect it and, look at, the lungs and the liver, and it'll show signs of hemorrhaging. Basically excess of blood," James Brower the Idaho Fish and Game Spokesperson in the Upper Snake Region said.

Brower said animals with the disease can show some odd behavior.

"It'll exhibit some, odd symptoms, like twirling in a circle or extremely lethargic. Sometimes they'll even, bleed out of their their mouth and nose. but if they get to that point, then they're, most likely going to perish within 24 hours time," Brower said.

AHD is transferred through nose-to-nose contact and not transferred through insects. Animals who interact with the carcasses of animals who perished from the disease also may contract it as well.

It isn't known to transfer to humans. If a carcass is found, Brower asks to leave it alone.

"We do ask people if they do come across a carcass of an unknown origin that they don't, mess with it too much. They were to wear, personal protective equipment, gloves and, and eyewear. but mostly just don't mess with it and give us a call, and we'll come and investigate," Brower said.

Brower adds unlike Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD), AHD can be contracted at any time for these species. With that in mind, he says we should look ahead to fall.

He says if you were to harvest a member of the deer family and something seems fishy as you clean your animal, you should give Fish and Game a call.

"If you have harvested an animal and, there's a variety of things in all sorts of wildlife, especially the deer family can get, if there's something that you suspect is wrong with the meat of your animal, then bring it into us, and we'll, check it out for you. If it needs to, we'll send it off to a laboratory for testing," Brower said.

After that, they will work out the next steps with the hunter.

"Sometimes that might mean issuing another tag if that meat is determined to be bad or something that we'd negotiate with the hunter," Brower said.

Brower says the good news is while animals get sick all the time, it's not very often that we get massive die-offs where animals die daily or weekly. It also usually happens in the remote areas of the forest, and Fish and Game, when they find the animals, will always try to figure out what is going on with them as well.

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Braydon Wilson

Braydon is a reporter for Local News 8.


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