New Resource Helping Wildlife Workers to Combat Disease

National Wildlife Biosecurity Guidelines released

November 2018

Wildlife Health Australia this week released an unprecedented and valuable resource to help Australians who work with wildlife; the National Wildlife Biosecurity Guidelines.

It’s well known in Australia that the majority of new infectious diseases that are found arise from wildlife. These not only pose risks to public health and agriculture, they also contribute to the decline of threatened species.

CEO of Wildlife Health Australia, Rupert Woods said: “These new Guidelines draw together the latest information and insights on how wildlife workers in all fields and working across Australia can adopt best-practices in applying biosecurity controls to every aspect of their work.

“If everyone working with wildlife; from vets to government agencies, students to carers, adopt practices that protect biosecurity, this will be critical to protecting wild animal populations and communities, and Australia’s animal industries from new and emerging diseases.”

“To date, the available literature and resources on biosecurity has focused on domestic animals. The new Guidelines are a fantastic resource to help frontline wildlife workers to understand disease risks and how to protect themselves, colleagues and the animals in their care,” Dr Woods said.

Unchecked, conditions like the introduced Chytrid fungus affecting many amphibian species in Australia can wipe out populations and even entire species.

A Whistling Tree Frog, a species affected by Chytrid fungus                                            Image: CSIRO

The new Guidelines provide unprecedented tools into the hands of wildlife workers in Australia to minimize the spread of disease and protect the health of individual animals, people, and free-ranging wildlife populations. They assist in further improving Australia’s environmental biosecurity arrangements.

The project’s coordinator Andrea Reiss has drawn together the latest information and insights from many specialist agencies including biosecurity, environment, human health, as well as many non-government organisations and expert individuals to produce the first National Wildlife Biosecurity Guidelines.

Wildlife Health Australia is the coordinating body for wildlife health in Australia.
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