Our head office is located in Sydney, NSW, but we work nationally. Our principal objectives support:
- Prevention of, preparedness for and response to wildlife diseases
- Maintenance of national wildlife health information datasets
- Wildlife health intelligence and decision making in Australia
- Australia’s understanding of potential international wildlife health risks to our animals and people
- Capacity building in wildlife health across Australia through communication, education and training
- A long-term sustainable wildlife health framework for Australia
- A national wildlife health network of technical expertise, extending across zoos, universities, private veterinary practices, wildlife carer groups, hunters and fishers, coordinated across federal and state government agencies and non-government organisations
- The advancement of the natural environment and the natural ecosystems across Australia.
WHA and our members are well positioned to assist in building national and regional capacities in these areas.
Our greatest strength is our ability to engage a large and varied group of stakeholders, many of whom may have valuable information about wildlife health, and can participate in discussions on wildlife health issues through WHA.
WHA brings together people, groups and agencies working in these fields at many different levels of government, in the private and public sectors, and can facilitate improved information flow.
WHA is very much operationally and outcomes focussed. A National Coordinator, supported by two full time and one part time project officers, provides support for Australian governments and non-government stakeholders. Two staff support the WHA board and members and provide business management services to the organisation:
Core funding is provided through a cost-shared model with funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water resources (DAWR) and all Australian state and territory governments. Significant in-kind funding and support is provided by zoo, university and other veterinary practises that see wildlife, as well as many other supporters and collaborators.
Legal and governance framework
WHA is a for purpose (not-for-profit), incorporated association registered under the Associations Incorporation Act (2009) in NSW. WHA is a registered charity. WHA extends the work of the Australian Wildlife Health Network (AWHN) and is administered under good organisational governance principles. An elected management committee (Board) oversees the activities of WHA.
Vision and mission
WHA’s vision is "Healthy wildlife, healthy Australia
". Our mission is to develop strong partnerships
in order to better manage the adverse effects of wildlife diseases
As a national program, WHA is faced with a range of challenges associated with operating in a federated system at national level. This is further compounded by the diversity of stakeholder groups and their many different priorities and perspectives. A number of founding principles help WHA navigate through the complexities of doing business in such a challenging environment. These principles are for an organisation that:
- focuses on human and animal health issues associated with free-ranging populations of wild animals that might impact on Australia’s animal health, human health, biodiversity, trade and tourism
- is based on scientific endeavour and scientific objectivity
- initiates multi-organisational collaboration amongst federal, state, local government and non-government agencies
- strives for collaboration and complementarity rather than competition
- is non-regulatory, financially responsible and efficient and
- works in the national interest.
- Wildlife Health Matters - We champion wildlife health in Australia. We support our partners and members in their endeavours to keep Australia’s wildlife healthy.
- Meaningful Connections - We actively foster collaborations based on trust and shared understanding. We facilitate long-term relationships to ensure a robust and sustainable wildlife health framework for Australia.
- Responsive and Visionary - We respond to challenges by listening and learning, creating solutions for the future.
- A Culture of Respect - We respect one another, our members and stakeholders, promoting a culture of diversity and cooperation.
- Integrity and Excellence - We show our dedication, honesty and commitment in everything we do. Our approach is thoughtful and well-considered.
How does WHA define 'wildlife' and 'wildlife health'?
For us "Wildlife" includes native and feral animals, including amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Free-living fish are also included but are considered of lower priority.
"Wildlife health" means the physical, behavioural and social well-being of free-ranging animals at an individual, population and wider ecosystem level, and their resilience to change.
- Administer Australia's general wildlife health information system
- Improve communication and coordination; provide technical advice, facilitation and professional support, and; ensure better investigation and management of wildlife health in Australia
- Participate in national horizon scanning, undertake analysis and forecasting of the over-the horizon issues we think are important for Australia
- Provide technical policy advice about wild animal diseases, and have input into contingency planning for animal disease emergencies involving wild animals and their prevention
- Contribute to the development of national technical information about wild animal diseases in Australia
- Provide support for Australia's framework for national management of wildlife health and disease
- Link and inform people who deal with wildlife disease in Australia
- Facilitate, coordinate and participate in research, investigation, monitoring, surveillance and recording of wildlife disease events in Australia.
WHA is a small, agile and highly focussed organisation that works in the national interest.
Who do we work with?
We work with a network of more than 40 agencies and organisations and over 700 wildlife health professionals, members of the public and those with an interest in wildlife health and the protection and enhancement of Australia’s natural environment. Our network includes representatives from federal, state and territory conservation, agriculture and human health agencies and industries, universities, zoos, private practitioners, wildlife carer groups, hunters and fishers and diagnostic pathology services.
What is the outcome?
The information, intelligence and analysis, and the coordination and linkage that we provide assists in limiting the deleterious impact of wildlife disease on Australia's natural ecosystems and environment, biodiversity, animal and human health, trade and tourism. Our activities provide ecological, economic and social benefits to Australia.
If you would like more information about WHA or its activities, visit our website pages on Strategic Direction or Programs and Projects or feel free to contact us directly.
For Head Office staff contact details, click "+" to expand the box below.