There are a number of diseases that affect game animals and hunting, all of which present a significant threat to New Zealand’s biosecurity. It is important that hunters are aware of these and it is especially relevant to hunters who have recently been overseas where diseases are present or are advising and guiding overseas hunters recently arrived in New Zealand.
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)
A recent outbreak of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Norway has highlighted the importance of biosecurity measures to prevent this disease reaching New Zealand. CWD is the deer equivalent of BSE (mad cow disease), and scrapie in sheep. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) affects deer, elk, reindeer, sika deer and moose. It has been found in some areas of North America, including Canada and the United States, Norway and South Korea. There has never been a case of CWD in New Zealand. A local outbreak would have devastating effects on deer farming, on wild animal recovery operations (WARO), and on recreational hunting.
It may take over a year before an infected animal develops symptoms, which can include drastic weight loss (wasting), stumbling, listlessness and other neurologic symptoms. CWD can affect animals of all ages and some infected animals may die without ever developing the disease. CWD is fatal to animals and there are no treatments or vaccines.
If you are hunting, fishing, skiing, tramping or just in the outdoors in countries that have CWD please take precautions to ensure you do not unwittingly bring anything back with you. More information and advice to overseas hunters, hunters visiting CWD-endemic areas and hunting guides is available here.
African Swine Fever (ASF)
Important information regarding African Swine Fever for hunters of wild pigs is available here.
Kauri Dieback Disease
Kauri dieback is an invasive disease that kills kauri trees. There is no known treatment. It spreads with soil movement, including on footwear and vehicles.
If you hunt in an area with native trees, you can help stop the spread of the disease. Clean soil off your vehicle, footwear and gear after you enter or leave the area.
More information is available here.
Freshwater pests, including didymo, could destroy New Zealand’s rivers and lakes. If you are moving between waterways, you must clean all your gear using the ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ method. More information on how to Check, Clean, Dry is available here.