Wildlife Health Victoria: Surveillance

Wildlife Welfare Emergencies

Who to Contact

Why is wildlife health surveillance important?

Because it interacts with and affects:

  • Biodiversity and environmental health.
  • Human health and biosecurity. Examples include Hendra virus and Australian Bat Lyssavirus from bats, arboviruses like Murray Valley encephalitis and Ross River virus spread by mosquitos from wildlife reservoirs,  Chlamydia spp, which can be carried by wild birds, and hydatids (Echinococcus spp.), which have a dingo-wallaby cycle.
  • Domestic animal health and biosecurity.  Many infections can move between domestic animals and wildlife.  Eg. Avian influenza viruses, Salmonella bacteria.

How can you help?

We'd appreciate your help with the following: 
→ please report wildlife health issues to Pam Whiteley 0400 119 301 or pamw@unimelb.edu.au

Your help with reporting wildlife health events is of great value to us, and we appreciate your support.  Please contact us if you wish to discuss this program or have suggestions (the reporting form includes opportunities for your comments, suggestions and needs).

A high proportion of Australia’s wildlife are endemic (found only in Australia). However, 20% of mammals, 8% of birds, 5% of reptiles, 14% amphibians and 1% fish are threatened with extinction. Disease can contribute to such extinctions. 

Examples that demonstrate the significance of wildlife diseases are:

  • The amphibian declines due to introduced chytrid fungus,
  • facial tumor disease in Tasmanian Devils, an infectious cancer, and
  • psittacine (beak and feather) circoviral disease in parrots and cockatoos, which is listed as a key threatening process. 

We have very limited baseline knowledge of the diseases that affect wildlife species.  This is because very few wildlife mortality (death) or morbidity (sickness) events have been reported and investigated.

The University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences is supported by the Hermon Slade Foundation to develop wildlife health surveillance in Victoria. This will help build a collaborative network between governmental and non-governmental organisations and individuals with findings reported through this website, and the Wildlife Health Australia, and available for use in wildlife biodiversity conservation. This baseline information will also be useful in biosecurity policy and management for human, domestic animal and wildlife health - a 'one health' approach.

The faculty gratefully acknowledges the support from the Hermon Slade Foundation, Vizard Foundation Youngman Trust and MA Ingram Trust for establishing and ongoing development of wildlife health surveillance in Victoria since 2008.

Contact us

Pam Whiteley BVSc MS MANZCVS BTeach ACCM
Mobile: 0400 119 301
Email: pamw@unimelb.edu.au 
Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences,
The University of Melbourne
Wildlife Health Surveillance Victoria
250 Princes Highway
Werribee VIC 3030          

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