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MOAB, Utah (AP) -- A mature buck deer in the La Sal Mountains east of Moab has tested positive for chronic wasting disease, the Division of Wildlife Resources said Friday.
Biologists believe the buck was killed by a mountain lion.
"This is the first deer to test positive for CWD in Utah this year," said Leslie McFarlane, a division wildlife biologist.
Last year, six of the 244 deer sampled in the La Sal Mountains tested positive for the disease.
The DWR has collected samples from 207 animals across the state for testing this year, and wants to collect more than 2,700 samples.
"We'll be taking samples from deer in specific units and from elk in the Uintah Basin and southeastern Utah," McFarlane said.
A map of the units that will be sampled this year can be viewed at the DWR's Web site http://www.wildlife.utah.gov
Results from samples that have been submitted, and information about chronic wasting disease, are also available at the site.
Chronic wasting disease attacks the brains of infected animals, causing them to display abnormal behavior and eventually become emaciated and die. There is no evidence the disease can spread to people.
Once thought to exist only in the wild in northeastern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming, the ailment has been found in wild and captive deer and elk in Wisconsin, Kansas, Nebraska, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah and two Canadian provinces.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)