BOISE -- The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is asking folks to be on the lookout for lice-ridden deer in south Boise. That's because a mule deer named Blue #60 came down with a terrible case of exotic deer lice this past March.
Wildlife officers noted the doe had "serious hair loss and open sores," and launched an investigation into the animal's condition.
They say Blue #60 was eventually captured and tagged near South Cloverdale and South Maple Grove roads. That's when the state's wildlife veterinarian made a strange discovery.
Dr. Mark Drew says Blue #60 was infested with lice -- but not just any kind of lousy lice -- an exotic deer louse never before seen in the Treasure Valley. The culprit in question is known as Bovicola tibialis, according to Drew.
Drew said the parasite has been found in other parts of the state, but hadn't surfaced locally until Blue #60 was diagnosed and treated on April 3rd of 2013.
Now, Fish and Game officers say Blue #60 has had a recent checkup and remains lice free. However, they want to know if and when the public spots any other deer with similar problems.
They also hope to determine whether the louse poses a health risk to these local deer.
Residents in the target area can help in this effort.
“We’re asking folks living in this area to let us know if and where they see Blue #60 and whether she is traveling with other deer,” Fish and Game conservation officer Joey Ishida said. “The number of deer, their location and noting any hair loss would be great information to receive.”
How do you spot Blue #60? Officers say to look for a big blue tag in her ear with the number 60 on it.
Reports of Blue #60’s location, any traveling companions and their physical condition can be emailed directly to Ishida at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on B. tibialis, visit the Idaho Fish and Game website.
Deer lice target area