The COVID-19 Virus Was Detected In Quebec Wildlife & It's The First Time In Canada

The virus has been found in other animals around the world.

Senior Editor
The COVID-19 Virus Was Detected In Quebec Wildlife & It's The First Time In Canada

Oh deer. Canadian officials reported Wednesday that they detected the COVID-19 virus in wildlife for the first time.

The National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease (CFIA) found SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in three white-tailed deer in Quebec's Estrie region. The CFIA took samples from the deer between November 6 and 8.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) reported "the deer showed no evidence of clinical signs of disease and were all apparently healthy."

Though this was a Canadian first, ECCC explained that there has been "evidence of spillover" of the COVID-19 virus from humans to deer in the United States, though "there has been no known transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from deer to humans at this time."

Around the world, SARS-CoV-2 has been found in dogs, mink, domestic cats, big cats and primates, among other animals.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the risk of an animal infecting a human with the COVID-19 virus is low.

ECCC said the discovery of the virus in Canadian deer "emphasizes the importance of ongoing surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 in wildlife to increase our understanding about SARS-CoV-2 on the human-animal interface."

The department promises federal and provincial authorities will continue to "monitor and assess the potential implications of the virus on Canadian wildlife."

Quebec deer can't seem to catch a break. The animals made headlines earlier in the week following a controversial announcement from the City of Longueuil that it plans to cull part of a population that's devastating a city park. Longueuil says the deer are also malnurished as a result of their overpopulation.

This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Leave the caribou alone! That's the message from the Government of Quebec in a December 15 news release warning the public of the adverse health effects human activity could have on the animals, especially a population of what are called mountain caribou, an ecotype of the woodland caribou that can be found in the highlands of the Gaspé Peninsula.

The Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks (MFFP) says the Gaspé mountain caribou have been considered threatened in the province since 2009 and represent the "last vestige" of a population that used to span eastern Canada and the northeastern United States.

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Longueuil plans to cull a group of beloved, destructive deer in a local park. Criticism of the decision has been swift, intense and in at least one instance, extreme. The city says its newly-elected mayor, Catherine Fournier, received a "serious threat" after confirming the plan.

In a statement shared with MTL Blog, city spokesperson Hans Brouillette confirmed that the mayor got a message that "was threatening and has required a notice to the Longueuil Police Service." He clarified that it was not a death threat.

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Longueuil Revived A Plan To Kill A Bunch Of Beloved, Destructive Deer That Live In A Park

People signed a petition to save the deer in 2020, but Longueuil says they're wrecking the park.

Precedent suggests animal lovers will not love this news: the City of Longueuil has once again announced that it intends to purge deer at Parc Michel-Chartrand as part of conservation efforts to preserve what it calls a "fragile ecosystem."

Longueuil made a similar announcement in 2020 but backed down on the plan after tens of thousands of people signed a petition against it.

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