WHA News

WHA News

Dr Hannah Bender joins the Australian Registry of Wildlife Health

Taronga Conservation Society Australia

"Please help us to welcome Dr. Hannah Bender as she joins the Australian Registry of Wildlife Health in the role of Wildlife Pathologist. 
Hannah joins us to enhance the diagnostic and research services of the Registry, working closely with both Karrie and Jane in the Registry, and Lydia Tong in the Pathology Lab of the Taronga Wildlife Hospital.  
Hannah is a veterinary pathologist with a long held interest in wildlife health and conservation.  After graduating from the University of Sydney’s faculty of Veterinary Science in 2005, Hannah undertook a PhD studying the genomic basis of Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) at The Australian National University.  Hannah was fortunate to participate in collaborative, multi-disciplinary field trips throughout Tasmania, working alongside conservation biologists, ecologists and epidemiologists to characterise the pathogenesis of an unusual emerging disease.  She used molecular cytogenetic techniques to confirm DFTD clonality, and collaborated on tumour sequencing projects to identify the DFTD cell of origin. Hannah additionally identified a novel pattern of telomere length dimorphism in dasyurid marsupials, consolidating her belief that Australian animals are some of the strangest, and most surprising and rewarding species to study. 
Hannah subsequently undertook three years of residency training in anatomic pathology at Cornell University, followed by a fellowship in comparative pathology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York.  During this time she gained broad exposure to a rich variety of veterinary and zoonotic diseases in species ranging from cats and dogs, to bats and skunks.  She was fortunate to participate in the 2012 AQUAVET program, nurturing a budding interest in aquatic animal pathology.  Hannah’s term in the USA culminated in board certification by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists, and in 2013 Hannah returned to Australia, first to a lectureship at Murdoch University, followed by a year at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory, evaluating Ebola virus pathogenesis in a ferret model of disease.
Hannah couldn’t be more excited to join the Registry and looks forward to collaborating with a great team, and to utilising her experience in diagnostic and experimental pathology to investigate disease outbreaks in free ranging wildlife."
Click on the title to find out how to get in touch with Hannah

Universities help with wildlife health

Wildlife Health Australia media release - 19 Jan 2016

Boosting Australia’s capture of wildlife health data is the aim of a new, one-year pilot project involving seven universities. 

Announcing the project today, Wildlife Health Australia CEO Dr Rupert Woods said, “Understanding the health status of Australia’s wildlife is an important step towards protecting them, and the huge benefits they provide to the environment, agriculture, tourism, and people’s health and wellbeing.”

Dr Woods said the seven Australian universities will input data into the electronic Wildlife Health Information System (eWHIS) which is managed by Wildlife Health Australia. He explained universities undertake hundreds of wildlife disease investigations annually, generated as part of their usual operations. He said the number of records going into eWHIS could increase by around 50 per cent or more as a result of the project.

Click here>> to read the full media release.

WHA Notification - Resignation of Dr Lyndel Post

Over the last five years Lyndel Post has led the Australian Wildlife Health Network, most recently overseeing the transition to Wildlife Health Australia (WHA).  Lyndel has been with the Australian Government in a variety of roles for the last seventeen years.  I am writing to let you know that Lyndel is leaving the Department in the near future.  In her absence Dr Robyn Martin (Assistant Secretary, Animal Health Policy Branch, Animal Health Division) will represent the Department on the WHA interim management committee and during the process to elect the WHA management committee for the next two years.

During her time at the helm of WHA Lyndel has worked with stakeholders, WHA staff and the state and territory governments to ensure WHA is firmly embedded in Australia's biosecurity framework.  Under her leadership, WHA now has forward funding until 2018, is an observer on Animal Health Committee, has clear national responsibilities for wildlife disease surveillance and is well established to serve Australia into the future.  Lyndel leaves WHA with a legacy of professionalism, competency and sound business processes that sets us up to meet the challenges of an exciting future. We are all very grateful for the hard work and vision she has brought to the role. We wish her all the best in whatever life has in store for her and for the future.  Rachel Wicks (Veterinary Officer, Animal Division, Epidemiology and One Health), who has worked closely with Lyndel over the last year to ensure a smooth transition, will temporarily represent the Department at an operational level on WHA focus and working groups until arrangements are finalised. 

Rupert Woods, WHA CEO.  (For more information please contact Rupert Woods at rwoods@wildlifehealthaustralia.com.au or 0438 755 078).

National Zoo Biosecurity Manual

The National Zoo Biosecurity Manual (NZBM) was produced as a cooperative initiative between the Zoo and Aquarium Association, Wildlife Health Australia (previously the Australian Wildlife Health Network), the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, and the Australian Zoo Industry. Guidelines (numbered sequentially for each section) outline the recommended practices to achieve best practice zoo biosecurity outcomes. The Manual outlines both basic guidelines and higher level guidelines for all zoos. A biosecurity self-audit checklist for ongoing assessment and improvement is available, in electronic format, as a supplement to this Manual.