Wildlife Welfare Emergencies
- Who to Contact
- +NUMBERS FOR INJURED WILDLIFE+
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?
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.
The University of Melbourne is undertaking an online survey of people who observe wildlife to ask about sarcoptic mange in wildlife in Victoria. Sarcoptic mange is caused by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei and has been recognized as an emerging infectious disease of Australian wildlife. Mites cause dermatitis or skin disease in wombats, koalas, foxes, dogs and occasionally people in Victoria.
The purpose of the survey is to better understand the importance of sarcoptic mange in wildlife in Victoria by asking people who observe wildlife: Who? (species affected), Where? When? What? and Why? Improved understanding of the scope and scale of sarcoptic mange may lead to the development of management strategies for this disease.
What will you be asked to do? Should you agree to participate you will be asked to complete a series of questions about wildlife. Click here to complete the survey.
Pam Whiteley BVSc MS MANZCVS BTeach ACCM
Mobile: 0400 119 301
Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences,
The University of Melbourne
Wildlife Health Surveillance Victoria
250 Princes Highway
Werribee VIC 3030
Reporting wildlife health events (sick and dead wildlife)
- If urgent disease investigation may be possible (examination of a fresh carcass or field visit to sick wildlife), please contact Pam Whiteley by phone 0400 119 301 and/or email email@example.com. If you need clinical help, see key contacts for wildlife welfare emergencies from our website.
- Reporting wildlife health event from the past:
Please provide information (including estimated date/s or date range) about significant wildlife health problems you are aware of from the past to Pam Whiteley.
You will be asked:
- to select the species (eg. Koala) or group (eg. kangaroos, wallabies and potoroos)
- to record the signs of disease or death you observed,
- for the species information (eg. species of wallaby), location, date, number of animals affected and an estimate of the number in the population you observed,
- your contact details (for use in wildlife health surveillance only)
Your reporting and information will increase our understanding of wildlife health events in Victoria and the detection of changes in these patterns of disease. Thank you for your contributions.
Pam Whiteley BVSc MS MANZCVS BTeach ACCM
Wildlife welfare emergencies
For urgent help with sick, injured or orphaned individual wildlife or wildlife involved in oil spills, strandings, bushfires or other emergencies please contact:
- Staff at the Department of Sustainability and Environment atthe DSE call centre
(136 186) 8am -6pm Monday-Fri. They can advise you on your closest wildlife shelter.
- Australian Wildlife Health Centre, Healesville Sanctuary, 5957 2829 firstname.lastname@example.org
- The RACV Wildlife connect number 13 11 11. RACV Wildlife Connect is a 24 hour a day telephone service for Victorians who hit or encounter injured wildlife on the road. You will immediately be connected with one of three Victorian-based volunteer wildlife groups who provide advice and help:
Wildlife Connect is a partnership initiative between RACV and Zoos Victoria, in collaboration with non-profit volunteer wildlife groups. It is an integral part of the Department of Sustainability and Environment’s partnership with Zoos Victoria. The Wildlife Connect service aims to increase the reporting of wildlife injuries to assist the rescue and rehabilitation process and to improve public awareness of the issues affecting wildlife.
- Wildlife Health Australia
- The Hermon Slade Foundation
We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Hermon Slade Foundation
- Australian Registry of Wildlife Health
- Wildlife Disease Association
- Victorian Department of Primary Industry (see animal health page).
- CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory
- BirdLife Australia
- Wildlife Victoria
- Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
Search for Wildlife Rescue Groups (under Land for Wildlife, in Native Plants and Animals).
- Parks Victoria
- Zoos Victoria
Wildlife Health Bulletins and Alerts
- Newsletter June 2019
- Newsletter - Feb 2019
- Newsletter - Jan 2018
- Newsletter - May 2017
- Newsletter - Feb 2017
- Newsletter - Jun 2016
- Newsletter - Mar 2016
- Newsletter - Nov 2015
- Newsletter - May 2015
- Newsletter - Dec 2014
- Newsletter - Jun 2014
- Newsletter - Apr 2014
- Newsletter - Jun 2013
- Newsletter - Feb 2013
- Newsletter - Nov 2012
- Newsletter - Apr 2012
- Newsletter - Mar 2012
- Newsletter - Dec 2011
- Newsletter - Sep 2011
- Newsletter - May 2011
- Newsletter - Mar 2011
- Newsletter - Nov 2010
- Newsletter - May 2010
- Newsletter - Aug 2010
Meet The Team
Professor Ian Beveridge
BVSc (Hons), PhD, DVSc (Melbourne)
Professor in Veterinary Parasitology
Ian Beveridge is Professor of Veterinary Parasitology in the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Melbourne. His research interests include systematics and biology of helminth (round worms) and arthropod (ecto) parasites of marsupials, systematics of cestodes (tapeworms) of elasmobrachs (sharks, rays, skates), ticks, and diagnosis and pathogenesis of helminth infections in domestic animals. He has previously been employed by the Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science in Adelaide, South Australia and the Department of Tropical Veterinary Sciences at James Cook University in North Queensland, Australia. Ian contributes to the Australian Society for Parasitology and editorial boards of several international journals. Professor Beveridge is a major contributor to wildlife disease research and publications at the Veterinary Faculty, commencing with the wildlife disease unit during the 1970s. He has produced eleven book chapters, eight monographs, 270 papers in refereed scientific journals, including many on diseases and parasites of Australian wildlife.
Andrew is Associate Professor of Veterinary Epidemiology at the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, University of Melbourne. He is also the senior consultant with, and former Director of, the Mackinnon Project at the same University. This enterprise is recognised as a world leader in delivering practical advice to farmer and agribusiness on a wide range of agricultural and economic issues. Professor Vizard is the author of over 50 scientific papers on a range of epidemiological matters. Professor Vizard has also served on the board of numerous statutory bodies, scientific organisations and companies including Animal Health Australia Ltd, the company responsible for co-ordinating and administrating Australia’s national animal health programs, including wildlife surveillance, The Zoological Parks and Gardens of Victoria, the body that administers Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary and the Australian Wildlife Health Centre, and the Australian Wool Corporation.
B.Sc. (Hons. Zool., UCD), M.Sc. (Biochem. UCD), MVB (UCD), Ph.D. (OVC, Guelph)
Senior Lecturer in Pathology
Pádraig has enjoyed an international career in wildlife health research and investigation spanning over 20 years and several countries including Ireland, the UK, Saudi Arabia, Canada, the US, New Zealand and Australia. He is an expert in marine mammal pathology and worked on many new and emerging diseases of these animals in the Arctic, North Atlantic, North and South Pacific, Indian Ocean and Sub-Antarctic. However, his interests also include the diseases of terrestrial mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish and particularly emerging infectious diseases and the role of environmental perturbations and climate change in their emergence and expression. He has published over 70 peer-reviewed scientific papers and several book chapters and other technical reports. He was founding director of the New Zealand Wildlife Health Centre and maintains research collaborations there and also in Europe, Canada and the US. He is an associate editor of Marine Mammal Science, a member of the Scientific Advisory Panel for Zoos Victoria, and a scientific advisor for the US National Marine Fisheries Service and the Working Group for Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Events.
BVSc (Hons), PhD, MVPHMgt
Lecturer in Veterinary Public Health - Epidemiology
Joanne Devlin is an Australian Research Council (ARC) Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Lecturer in Veterinary Public Health – Epidemiology in the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne. Her research focuses on the pathogenesis and epidemiology of veterinary infectious diseases with the aim of improving disease control and enhancing animal welfare. The overarching aim of her research is to develop tools and strategies to control infectious diseases in animal populations. Her research interests include viral and bacterial diseases in Australian marsupials (particularly macropods and koalas) and studies of macropodid herpesviruses, including their molecular pathogenesis and interaction with the immune systems of infected animals. Her ongoing research in these areas is performed in collaboration with other researchers from The University of Melbourne and also with researchers from other national and international organizations, including Zoos Victoria and the Victorian Department of Primary Industries.
BVSc, MS, MANZCVS and BTeach ACCM
Pam Whiteley helped establish the Australian Wildlife Health Network in 2002 (Wildlife Health Australia since 2012) and was Australasian Section chairperson for the Wildlife Disease Association 2006-2008 and 1990-1991. Pam did her membership exams of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists in both Epidemiology and Medicine of Australian Wildlife Species. She was Vet and Curator at Healesville Sanctuary between 1976-86 and in 1985 had a Churchill Fellowship to investigate wildlife disease research and management in North America. Pam did her Master of Science research into the effects of environmental contaminants on immune function and disease resistance of waterfowl with the US Fish and Wildlife Service at their National Wildlife Health Center and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, USA. She has worked on bluetongue virus immunology at CSIRO Australian Animal Health Center, Geelong, and on rabbit calicivirus with the Victorian Department of Agriculture at their Veterinary Laboratory, Attwood. While a veterinary student Pam undertook research on blood parasites of ducks at the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment’s Arthur Rylah Institute for the Environment, Heidelberg. Pam and colleagues founded Wildlife Health Surveillance Victoria (WHSV) in 2008 at the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences and in 2014 WHSV was elected to the Committee of Management of Wildlife Health Australia. Pam continues to contribute to the development of wildlife health surveillance in Victoria and Australia. She is grateful for the support of the Hermon Slade Foundation, Vizard Foundation , Youngman Trust, the MA Ingram Trust and donors.
KV Jubb Fellow 2015
Wildlife disease surveillance expert appointed KVF Jubb Fellow
The Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences has appointed veterinary pathologist Dr Frederick A. (Ted) Leighton as the inaugural KVF Jubb Fellow.
The KVF Jubb Fellowship was established to honour the remarkable contributions of Professor Ken Jubb to the field of veterinary pathology, the international veterinary profession, and the University of Melbourne.
Dr Leighton shared his expertise in veterinary pathology and wildlife disease surveillance and management with the University and the wider community in August, 2015.
Dr Leighton is a professor emeritus in the Department of Veterinary Pathology at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan.
He was the founding Executive Director of the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, and he is a member of the Wildlife Working Group of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
Dr Leighton's research and publications have included pathology and epidemiology of non-infectious and infectious diseases of wild animals, disease surveillance, disease management, the role of veterinary medicine in human society and interpretation of science to the general public.
“It is a terrific honour and opportunity for me to visit the University of Melbourne as the inaugural KVF Jubb Fellow,” Dr Leighton said.
“Dr Jubb had a major impact on my academic career; I am in many ways one of his academic grandchildren, and I am delighted to have this wonderful opportunity to honour Dr Jubb and to spend time in his academic home and with his students and colleagues.”
Dr Leighton presented the inaugural KVF Jubb Fellowship Public Lecture on Thursday 6 August, 2015 titled: “Wildlife Health in the 21st Century.”
He said an unexpected effect of globalisation has been the increased importance of wild animal health and disease to human affairs.
“Infections originating in wild animals now threaten every household: AIDS, Influenza, Ebola, SARS, Hanta, Hendra, Nipah, Zika, Pox, Plague. They threaten livestock, global food security and they threaten wild animal populations.”
In the lecture, Dr Leighton highlighted that veterinary medicine has both the capacity and a major obligation to apply its knowledge and problem-solving skills to understand and manage the wild animal side of the global health equation.
Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences Dean Ken Hinchcliff said Dr Leighton was a fitting choice as first KVF Jubb Fellow in 2015.
“Ken Jubb was a world-renowned veterinary pathologist and educator who helped to establish a number of veterinary schools around Australia,” Professor Hinchcliff said.
“He was also chairman of Zoos Victoria and instrumental in founding Werribee Open Range Zoo.
“Dr Ted Leighton shares his strong interest wildlife and animal pathology and is an apt choice as the first KVF Jubb Fellow.”