CHeRI - Cervidae Health Research Initiative

Introduction to CHeRI

Scientists at the University of Florida Cervidae Health Research Initiative, or CHeRI for short, are working together to tackle problems that affect cervids: members of the deer family like white-tailed deer and elk. This initiative seeks to promote interdisciplinary science, education and outreach that increase the health and production of captive cervids in a sustainable manner and promotes the health of native wildlife and the ecosystems in which they live.

Our stakeholders in the deer farm industry have identified hemorrhagic disease as the primary threat to economic success in Florida. Last year deer farmers lost >$32M due to a high prevalence of EHD. More information on hemorrhagic disease and the viruses that cause this disease in deer can be found on our Hemorrhagic Disease Diagnostics page. While reducing morbidity and mortality of captive deer from HD is our primary goal, we seek to maintain a diverse portfolio of projects to improve the health of cervids in Florida.

CHeRI services during the COVID-19 pandemic

UF regards our diagnostic work on deer deaths as essential services. We are therefore able to collect samples on your farm and process those samples in our laboratories. Our ship-in services are also still available. When we visit your farm, we will ensure your safety via social distancing and CDC approved disinfecting procedures. Our Wildlife Extension Veterinarian, Dr. Juan Campos, is also available for over-the-phone consultations. Call the deer hotline at 352-562-DEER to get in touch with us about your diagnostic needs and cervid health questions.

Check it out the new CHeRI Dashboard map!

CHeRI Dashboard Map (click here)


Our latest CHeRI newsletter is out now!

CHeRI May 2021 Newsletter

Read about what we've been up to and meet our new necropsy techs!

Check it out the Medgene vaccine report!

CHeRI Medgene Vaccine Report

Drs. Samantha Wisely and Juan Campos report on our case-control EHDV vaccine experiment, conducted on a partnered Florida deer farm in the months of September and October 2020.

Noteworthy Articles and Infographics for Seasoned and New Deer Farmers, and Anyone, really!

CHeRI on the right track to control disease vectors

CHeRI Finds a New Virus in White-Tailed Deer

UF IFAS Blog - Pest Management in Deer Farming: First Steps Toward Best Practices

How to Necropsy a White-tailed Deer for Sample Submission

CHeRI saving livelihoods

Our scientists are trying to prevent the next coronavirus in Florida

CHeRI studies the spread of fatal diseases among deer by dispatching field technicians to deer farms to perform necropsies. What Samantha Wisely learns may have future applications if a deer disease makes the leap to humans. Her work shows that we likely still have much to do just to identify the agents that can carry disease. CHeRI has documented four previously unknown deer viruses and three others that were previously not found in deer. Public health risks must be addressed through publicly funded research. With so much at stake, we need public scientists as the early detection corps whose prevention work can stave off future quarantines, panic, public health threats and economic losses.

Deer and Wildlife Stories with Keith Warren discovers CHeRI's EHD research at University of Florida

Flashback from April 2019: on Deer and Wildlife Stories with Keith Warren, we discover a research program on the deadly deer disease EHD being conducted at the University of Florida. This research will help whitetail deer enthusiasts around the country. Warning! The following video contains hunting and shooting that is educational in nature, but may be offensive to some people. Viewer discretion is advised.