About WHA

Our head office is located in Sydney, NSW, but we work nationally and our members are located all across Australia, including Australian Antarctic Territory. Our principal objectives support:

  • A long-term sustainable wildlife health framework for Australia
  • Capacity building in wildlife health across Australia through communication, education and training
  • 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
  • Australia’s understanding of potential international wildlife health risks to our animals and people
  • Wildlife health intelligence and decision making in Australia
  • Prevention of, preparedness for and response to wildlife health and disease issues 
  • Maintenance of national wildlife health information datasets
  • 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 capacity 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, expertise and experience with wildlife health issues, and can participate in discussions on these 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 collaboration and information flow.

Our Technical Team is led by the National Coordinator, supported by the Program Manager for Surveillance, and two full time and one part time project officers, provide support for Australian governments and non-government stakeholders. Two staff support the WHA management committee and members and provide business management services to the organisation, including part time systems analyst and communications experts:  

Rupert Woods CEO
Karen Magee Public Officer and Business Manager
Trish Hennessy-Hawks         Administration Manager
Tiggy Grillo National Coordinator and Chief Operating Officer
Keren Cox-Witton     Program Manager - Surveillance / Acting National Coordinator
Steve Unwin Program Manager - One Health Surveillance and Wildlife Collaborating Centre for Australia and the Indo-Pacific
Clare Death Senior Project Officer
Claire Harrison Senior Project Officer
Andrea Reiss Senior Project Officer
Silvia Ban Project Officer
Lisa Keen Communications and Marketing Coordinator



Core funding is provided through a cost-shared agreement with the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and all Australian state and territory governments. Significant in-kind funding and support is also provided by Australia's states and territories, zoo, university and other veterinary practises that see wildlife, as well as many other supporters and collaborators both within and outside of government.

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 and extends the work of the Australian Wildlife Health Network (AWHN).  The organisation is administered under good organisational governance principles with an elected management committee that oversees activities on behalf of the nation.

Vision and mission

WHA’s vision is "Healthy wildlife, healthy Australia". Our mission is to lead national action on wildlife health to protect and enhance the natural environment, biodiversity, economy and animal and human health through strong partnerships

Founding principles

As a national program, WHA is faced with a range of challenges associated with operating in a federated system at national level. These challenges are further compounded by the diversity of stakeholder groups with their many different and diverse 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 managed and unmanaged populations of native and feral animals, including amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Invertebrates and 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.

Core business

A management committee provides leadership and a small number of dedicated staff steward, facilitate and coordinate the trust-based relationships and collaborations needed to help manage the adverse effects of wildlife health on Australia’s environment, biodiversity, animal and human health, trade and tourism.  This is achieved by generating norms and standards for monitoring, surveillance, and on-ground action, as well as facilitating the development of capacity, tools and resources which improve wildlife health in the areas of research and knowledge, preparedness and response, communications and outreach, surveillance and investigation and education and training.  We:
  • Provide support for Australia's framework for national management of wildlife health and disease
  • Improve communication and coordination; provide technical advice, facilitation and professional support, and; ensure better investigation and management of wildlife health in Australia
  • Link and inform people who deal with wildlife health and disease issues in Australia
  • Provide technical policy advice about wild animal health and disease issues, and have input into contingency planning for animal disease emergencies involving wild animals and their prevention 
  • Participate in national horizon scanning, undertake analysis and forecasting of the over-the horizon issues we think are important for Australia
  • Contribute to the development of national technical information about wild animal health and diseases in Australia
  • Facilitate, coordinate and participate in research, investigation, monitoring, surveillance and recording of wildlife health and disease events in Australia
  • Administer Australia's general wildlife health information system.


WHA is a small, agile and highly focussed organisation that works in the national interest.

Who is involved?

Wildlife Health Australia consists of the people and organisations that champion wildlife health in Australia.  Our network includes more than 45 agencies and organisations and over 800 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 including 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 laboratory 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 health and diseases 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 our 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.


Head Office

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What to do if you find sick, injured or dead wildlife.

Find out more from WHA Fact Sheets.