ONTARIO — A whopping 80% of white-tailed deer tested positive for COVID-19 in a recent study of the species in Iowa. The news made headlines, and not surprisingly, Ontario now hopes to gauge prevalence of the virus in this province’s deer population, too, along with an expanded list of wildlife.
The province has been monitoring some other wild animals for COVID-19 since 2020. This “first batch of samples” from mink, skunks, raccoons and bats have all come back negative, said Larissa Nituch, Science Operations Supervisor in the Wildlife Research and Monitoring Section at the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry.
“Future sampling will also include beavers, otters, muskrats, and deer,” Nituch told Farmers Forum.
“We are working with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative and other partners to monitor some Ontario wildlife (including deer) for COVID-19, along with our ongoing monitoring of other diseases, such as rabies and chronic wasting disease,” she said.
Initial results of the deer tests are expected this winter.
Media reports suggest the deer in Iowa picked up the virus from humans.
Medical authorities now generally accept that COVID-19 will never be eradicated, and that everyone will be exposed to the virus at some point. Evidence that coronavirus readily finds a haven in wildlife would only seem to bolster the idea that the bug isn’t going away.