DNR banning treatment of select wildlife due to COVID-19Submitted: 09/15/2020
DNR banning treatment of select wildlife due to COVID-19
Story By Meghan Mamlock

EDITOR NOTE:  This story has been updated to show Wild Instincts has not had to put down any wildlife because of the new regulations.  They have been forced to turn some away.

The DNR enacted new regulations on August 21st that stopped the admission of new wildlife patients and treatment of them due to fears of COVID-19 transmission from human to animal. The wildlife that are currently on the list are bobcats, minks, weasels, otters, fisher and other mustelid.

This regulation went into effect after the USDA reported on two Utah mink farms that had an outbreak, leading them to discover that the minks carried SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19 in people. The CDC reported about Several lions and tigers at a New York zoo tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 after showing signs of respiratory illness. 

Director of Rehabilitation, Mark Naniot, says they've had to turn away animals they would otherwise work to heal. 

"So that is our biggest fear is that people are going to try to raise these animals themselves, subject their family, their pets, and their children to different diseases and parasites that we know a lot about and how to prevent and most of the general public don't," said Naniot.

DNR Wildlife Health Conservation Specialist Amanda Kamps said there still is not enough information to risk the health of Wisconsin wildlife. 

"It's this temporary precaution to put into place now while we are learning that information and then hopefully can get some more information to maybe have different recommendations in the future."

If you do find one of the injured animals on the list you are instructed to let nature take its course. Wildlife Instincts and the DNR are not allowed to take them in and treat them.

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