Formation

Wildlife Health Australia Inc (Wildlife Health Australia: WHA) was formed in 2013 to extend the work of the Australian Wildlife Health Network (AWHN).

The formation of WHA was an important step in protecting Australia’s wildlife and natural environment. WHA joins other public-private partnerships such as Animal Health Australia (AHA) and Plant Health Australia (PHA) in progressing Australia's shared vision and responsibility for animal and plant health, biosecurity and contributing to the protection of human health and the natural environment in Australia.

Current Priorities

Objectives

Wildlife Health Australia has five objectives:

  • Facilitate and support collaboration and communication between those with an interest in wildlife health and improve knowledge of, and facilitate the development of solutions for, priority wildlife health questions and problems as identified by the community
  • Facilitate improved, effective and efficient wildlife disease preparedness and response in Australia
  • Lead national action on wildlife health to protect and enhance the natural environment, biodiversity, economy and animal and human health of response readiness for wildlife diseases
  • Facilitate improved, effective and efficient wildlife health and disease surveillance and investigation in Australia that also satisfies international reporting requirements
  • In collaboration with our members, contribute to, support and improve education and training in wildlife health.

Focus

Wildlife Health Australia focuses on nationally important and significant diseases and wildlife health issues which may impact upon Australia's natural environment. Emerging, exotic, zoonotic, ecologically and agriculturally significant diseases and issues are emphasised in the operations of WHA.

An important part of our work has been in providing support for Australia's states and territories, animal health industries, Australia's Chief Environmental Biosecurity Officer (CEBO) and Chief Veterinary Officer (ACVO). At the direction of the ACVO, WHA now provides Australia's World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Wildlife Focal Point. WHA also continues to assist Australia’s states and territories in administering Australia’s general wildlife health information system and also provides Australia's representative to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Veterinary Specialists Group.

Challenges

A future challenge for WHA is in continuing to grow and develop in a changing environment of disease emergence, international translocation of pathogens through travel or trade, climate change and new developments in industries including agriculture and tourism.

History

Wildlife Health Australia began life back in 1999 at a national workshop at the then CSIRO Division of Wildlife and Ecology at Gungahlin, ACT and was originally established as the Australian Wildlife Health Network (AWHN) in 2002 as a national partnership between Australian government and non-government agencies and organisations. The proceedings from that workshop is an interesting read if you would like to understand where we have come from including some of the needs and drivers and how people were thinking at the time (below).

 

 Development of the AWHN - The Gungahlin Proceedings

WHA Constitution

WHA Strategic Plan

WHA Annual Report