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Contact information
For information on wildlife health, contact:
Erin Larson
Wildlife health data coordinator
Bureau of Wildlife Management
608-264-6054

Wildlife health and rehabilitation

Necropsy
Necropsy performed on a common loon

The wildlife health program maintains a strong program of wildlife disease and contaminants monitoring to detect introduction of new diseases, changes in disease patterns and significant impacts on wildlife populations. Wildlife rehabilitation is also a part of the wildlife health program because licensed rehabilitators are involved in monitoring wildlife health, and are often at the forefront of disease detections. Rehabilitators can also identify if wildlife populations are impacted by specific actions, including those that are related to human activities.

Report sick or dead wildlife

Report observations of single sick or dead animals of the following:

  • loons;
  • peregrine falcons;
  • eagles that have leg bands;
  • trumpeter swans that have leg bands or neck collars;
  • osprey that have leg bands;
  • greater prairie chickens and sharp-tailed grouse;
  • bats: you may also enter reports of sick or dead bats electronically using the Reporting Form found on the Wisconsin Bat Monitoring Program's website;
  • wolves;
  • American marten;
  • raccoons;
  • bear, especially bear cubs; and
  • elk and deer.

Help monitor the health of Wisconsin's wildlife by reporting your sightings of sick or dead wildlife to your local DNR office. It is not necessary to report wildlife killed along roadways.

If you observe five or more sick or dead birds, or three or more sick or dead mammals in one area please contact your local DNR office to report your observation. Please include the number of animals, the species, such as raccoon or Canada goose, if they were sick or dead, the specific location where you saw them and your contact information in case further information is needed. Besides groups of wildlife the DNR has disease monitoring programs for the specific wildlife species listed to the right.

Wildlife health

Chronic wasting disease

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal nervous system disease known to naturally infect white-tailed deer, mule deer, moose and elk. It belongs to the family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) or prion diseases. Though it shares features with other prion diseases, like mad cow disease in cattle and scrapie in sheep, it is a distinct disease known to only affect members of the deer family. CWD has been discovered in wild deer, elk, or moose in 17 states and two Canadian provinces [exit DNR].

Northwest WI CWD Information

In the fall of 2011 a sick deer from Washburn County tested positive for chronic wasting disease. The following page includes information on CWD in northern WI.



Wildlife rehabilitation

Wildlife rehabilitation is the act of providing temporary care for injured, sick or orphaned wildlife with the goal of releasing them back into the wild. Animals released back into the wild must have the ability to recognize and find appropriate foods, socialize with members of their own species and exhibit normal behaviors such as fear of humans and predator avoidance.

Last revised: Thursday April 10 2014