LANSING, MI - Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers in southwest Michigan recently conducted enforcement operations targeting illegal importation of harvested deer into Michigan from states with chronic wasting disease (CWD) in their free-ranging deer herds.\r\nConservation officers conducted operations near the I-94 corridor of the Michigan\/Indiana border, resulting in the seizure of six harvested deer. Five deer were transported into Michigan from Illinois, and one was transported from Wisconsin. Michigan law prohibits importing deer from CWD-positive states and provinces.\r\nFive Michigan residents have been charged with the illegal transportation of deer into the state. They will be arraigned in the 5th District Court in Berrien County. Violation of Michigan\u2019s wildlife importation laws may result in fines of\u00a0up to $500 and up to 90 days in jail.\r\nThe seized deer have been transported to the Michigan DNR Wildlife Disease Lab in East Lansing where they will be tested for CWD and then incinerated.\r\n\u201cThe transportation of whitetail deer into Michigan from a CWD-positive state is a very serious concern,\u201d said Conservation Officer Andrew Bauer, who organized the enforcement operation. \u201cCWD can spread from illegally imported deer to our deer herd, causing a very significant negative impact.\u201d\r\nThe DNR announced in late May 2015 that CWD had been found for the first time in a free-ranging white-tail deer in Ingham County. Since that time, two additional deer also have tested positive. CWD is a neurological (brain and nervous system) disease found in deer, elk and moose.\r\nThere currently is no treatment for CWD; it is fatal in all cases.\r\nCurrent scientific understanding suggests CWD may be transmitted both directly through animal-to-animal contact, as well as indirectly through a contaminated environment. Previous studies have shown that CWD prions exist in the saliva, urine, blood and feces of infected cervids. Additionally, a study\u00a0by the University of Wisconsin suggests that the CWD prion can remain indefinitely in certain types of soil, and binding to soil dramatically increases the infectiousness of CWD prions.\r\nTo date, there is no evidence that chronic wasting disease presents any risk to non-cervids, including humans, either through contact with an infected animal or from handling venison. However, as a precaution, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recommend that infected animals not be consumed as food by either humans or domestic animals.\r\nMany western states do have chronic wasting disease, which is why the Michigan DNR has strict importation laws.\r\nHarvested free-ranging deer, elk or moose from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and the Canadian provinces of Alberta\u00a0and Saskatchewan all\u00a0have importation restrictions.\r\nThese states and provinces have detected CWD in free-ranging animals; therefore, only the following parts of deer, elk or moose carcasses may be brought into Michigan: deboned meat, antlers, antlers attached to a skull cap cleaned of all brain and muscle tissue, hides, upper canine teeth or a finished taxidermy mount.\r\nIf you are notified by another state or province that a deer, elk or moose you brought into Michigan has tested positive for CWD, you must contact the DNR Wildlife Disease Lab within two business days (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) at 517-336-5030 and provide details. In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture may have regulations on importation from Canada. Call 301-851-3300 for details.\r\nMichigan citizens should call the DNR Report All Poaching hotline\u00a0(800-292-7800) with any information regarding importation violations.\r\nFor more information on CWD, please visit www.michigan.gov\/cwd.\r\nMichigan conservation officers are fully commissioned state peace officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety and protect citizens by providing general law enforcement duties and lifesaving operations in the communities they serve. Learn more about Michigan conservation officers at www.michigan.gov\/conservationofficers.