Pennsylvania Game News - November 2020 - 51

EXCELLENCE RECOGNIZED
T h e Wa s h i n g t o n , D.C .- b a s e d
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
has recognized the Pennsylvania Game
Commission for excellence, presenting
the agency with two national awards at its
annual meeting in September, which was
held virtually this year.
The Game Commission and its grouse
biologist Lisa Williams were named
recipients of the 2020 Ernest Thompson
Seton Award, and the Game Commission's
new Wildlife on WiFi program was named
winner of the 2020 Stephen Kellert Award.
"Extremely dedicated to the roles
they play in wildlife conservation, the
Pennsylvania Game Commission's staff,
on a daily basis, exhibits excellence in
innovation, work ethic and efficiency," said
Game Commission Executive Director Bryan
Burhans. "The results are apparent and
easy to appreciate, and it's not surprising
some of our hard-working employees have
been recognized on a national level with
prestigious awards from the Association
of Fish and Wildlife Agencies."
The Ernest Thompson Seton Award
is presented to the state, provincial or
federal agency that best has promoted a
public awareness of the need to support
the science and practice of wildlife
management.
Williams was the first researcher to
identify the connection between sharply
declining ruffed grouse populations and
West Nile virus, which has led the way for
work to address the problem head-on.
The Stephen Kellert Award recognizes
a distinguished individual or group effort
for outstanding service in advancing
connections between humans and the
natural world to all peoples in a diverse and
inclusive manner.
Launched during a period when school
buildings statewide were closed in response
to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wildlife on WiFi
(WoW) serves to connect Pennsylvanians to
their state's wildlife from anywhere.
WoW provides innovative remotelearning opportunities, virtual lessons
and online educational resources about
wildlife and its conservation. Since its
April 2020 launch, WoW has registered
approximately 40,000 user engagements,
including downloads of WoW lessons and
activities, views of videos and storytime
readings, social media wildlife games and
live virtual lessons.

NOVEMBER 2020 	

Captive deer regs revised
Game Commission praises CWD-driven changes.

Disease respects no boundaries - a truth
among wildlife as well as humans.
And with that in mind, the Game
Commission has commended new
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
regulations dealing with Chronic Wasting
Disease in captive deer.
The Game Commission is responsible for
managing wild, free-ranging deer and elk in
the Commonwealth, while the Department
of Agriculture has responsibility for those
behind fences. That makes managing CWD
a shared responsibility.
The Department of Agriculture's new
rules - put into place in late August - create
a CWD Core Captive Management Zone
in Bedford, Blair and Fulton counties. The
regulations intend to control CWD where it
is most prevalent, while also allowing deer
farms to stay in business.
"We know that all deer, whether they
be wild and free-ranging or captive, are
susceptible to CWD," said Bryan Burhans,
executive director of the Game Commission.
"They all can get it, and all those that do die.
"In the end, it makes no difference which
way CWD travels, be that into the wild from
behind a fence or vice versa," Burhans said.
"We just need to stop its spread where we
can as best we can."
The new regulations establish a CWD
Core Captive Management Zone and
prohibit the movement of high-risk parts
outside its boundary. That lines up well
with the Game Commission's new CWD
Response Plan, which creates an Established
Area in that part of the state, where it's
recommended deer densities be lowered to
mitigate disease-transmission risk. More
information on the rules is available at the
Department of Agriculture's website.
51



Pennsylvania Game News - November 2020

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