North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Taxidermists Can Help Prevent Chronic Wasting Disease in N.C.

Author: NCWRC blogger/Thursday, August 3, 2017/Categories: Conservation

Taxidermists Can Help Prevent Chronic Wasting Disease in N.C.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal disease that can be found in deer, elk, moose and reindeer. The disease is brought on by an abnormal prion (a form of protein) that accumulates in the animal’s brain cells. The disease has the potential to spread by animal-to-animal contact, contaminated tissues (bone and brain) and contaminated materials like equipment, soils and plants. Once the disease is found in a new location, it is almost impossible to eradicate. Thus far, no instance of CWD has been detected in North Carolina.

To increase surveillance for CWD, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has partnered with taxidermists to create the Cervid Health Cooperator (CHC) program. Taxidermists who enroll in the program will learn how to obtain and process samples and earn money for each sample submitted for testing.

Only collectors certified in the CHC program can be compensated for their submissions. To become certified, taxidermists can sign up and attend one of our free two-hour CHC Sample Collection Certification training workshops. Training will take place in a classroom environment and will include a hands-on opportunity to learn how to collect the medial Retropharyngeal Lymph Nodes. After training is completed, each attendee will be certified to harvest samples from taxidermied cervids for CWD testing and will receive a free CHC hat.

Program-certified taxidermists will be able to collect samples during hunting season from animals they receive at their shop, improving our chances to detect CWD before it becomes established in the North Carolina.

Four training opportunities will be held during August and September in Morganton, Raleigh, New Bern and Troy. For more information and to register, visit  

Be sure to check out the CHC photo gallery on our Flickr page!


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