Wildlife Health Australia coordinates a Sentinel Surveillance Program that integrates zoos, veterinary clinics and universities.
The Sentinel Surveillance program captures information on free-ranging and rehabilitation wildlife cases from around the country. Now coordinated as a collective group by WHA, the Zoo Based Surveillance Program, the Sentinel Clinic Surveillance Program, and the University Based Surveillance Program began in 2010, 2014 and 2016 respectively. Each participating organisation has one or more surveillance coordinators, usually veterinarians or veterinary nurses, who select and enter wildlife disease cases directly into the eWHIS database.
In addition to data entry, surveillance coordinators are brought together via four program meetings annually. The information captured through this program is used to better understand disease threats to biodiversity, human health and livestock, and contributes to our national picture of wildlife health. This is an invaluable surveillance effort providing data that may not be otherwise available, while creating a network that facilitates communication between veterinarians and the WHA Coordinators.
The Sentinel Surveillance Program organisations see over 60,000 free-ranging wildlife cases every year and have made over 4,700 eWHIS database entries since the programs began.