Biosecurity & Management

For AUSVETPLAN disease strategies, please go to Animal Health Australia website



Wildlife Biosecurity Guidelines
Wildlife disease management & response guidelines
Disease Risk Assessments

Wildlife Biosecurity Guidelines

Wildlife disease management & response guidelines

Disease Risk Assessments

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Wildlife Health Australia aims to link, inform and support people and organisations who work with or have an interest in wildlife health across Australia through technical advice, facilitation, communications and professional support.

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National Wildlife Biosecurity Guidelines

The National Wildlife Biosecurity Guidelines have been developed to document best practice biosecurity measures for those working with Australian wildlife. The guidelines are intended for all people who work (or interact) with wildlife including wildlife managers, researchers, veterinarians, carers and others. All organisations which work with wildlife are encouraged to use the information in these guidelines to assess their own biosecurity risks and to develop and maintain an optimum level of biosecurity for their operations.

Click here for the Guidelines. WHA has also developed a one-page information sheet.

National Zoo Biosecurity Manual

This manual has been developed by veterinary leaders and advisors within the Australian zoo industry to document best practice biosecurity measures currently being adopted by the zoo industry.

The National Zoo Biosecurity Manual (NZBM) was produced as a cooperative initiative between the Zoo and Aquarium Association, Wildlife Health Australia, the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Australian Zoo Industry.

Click here to find out more and download the manual.

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COVID-19 and Australian wildlife: Biosecurity information for people working or interacting with wildlife

This document provides guidance to people interacting with wildlife on how to minimise the risk of human to wildlife transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

Biosecurity Guidelines for bat research in caves in Australia

This document provides guidance on minimising the risk of spread of disease by bat researchers conducting activities in caves. These guidelines focus on bat research in caves, but many of the recommendations also apply to other activities in caves, and bat research in other situations.

National Guidelines for Management of Disease in Free-ranging Australian Wildlife

National Guidelines for Management of Disease in Free-ranging Australian Wildlife have been developed as a practical document that outlines the science of wildlife disease management and describes what options might be available to manage wildlife diseases in an Australian context.

The focus of the Guidelines is on management options for disease in native wildlife at a population level and are intended for use by anyone involved in management of a disease in Australian wildlife.

The Guidelines emphasise that wildlife disease management should be undertaken as a multidisciplinary, collaborative effort, with input from a wide range of experts and stakeholders including Indigenous people. 

Click here for the Guidelines.

WHA has also developed a one-page information sheet.

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Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and Wild Animals in Australia - a Risk Mitigation Toolbox for Wildlife Managers

"Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and Wild Animals in Australia - a Risk Mitigation Toolbox for Wildlife Managers" is a guidance document focusing on prevention and preparedness for HPAI H5 for wildlife managers and is based on existing emergency animal disease arrangements in Australia. It is designed for use by managers of free-ranging wild animal populations in Australia, although aspects will be relevant to other stakeholders that interact with free-ranging wildlife. The Toolbox provides strategies for HPAI prevention and preparedness for wild birds and wild mammals, and specifically considers free-ranging wild animal populations (including native, pest, introduced species), rather than wildlife kept in captivity (e.g zoos, fauna parks, rehabilitation). The Toolbox is available as a PDF; Appendix 1 (Toolbox checklist) can be downloaded as a Word document and Appendix 2 (spreadsheets for collating population information) can be downloaded as an Excel document.

Emergency Wildlife Disease Response Guidelines

These guidelines use Australia's Veterinary Emergency Response Plan (AUSVETPLAN) framework and provide a high-level document for guiding the management of an emergency wildlife disease (EWD) response in Australian native animals. This is a living document and we encourage comments and feedback on the document from emergency managers and others who may be involved in any response.  

Please send these comments to for consideration for inclusion.

White-nose Syndrome Response Guidelines

White-nose syndrome, a fungal disease caused by Pseudogymnoascus destructans, has caused significant mortalities of insectivorous bats in North America. P. destructans has not been identified in Australia. These guidelines have been developed by Wildlife Health Australia in consultation with stakeholder groups, to assist response agencies in the event of an incursion of this exotic disease into bats in Australia.

Guidelines for the treatment of Australian wildlife with sarcoptic mange

Sarcoptic mange, caused by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei, is an emerging infectious disease causing significant morbidity and mortality, with serious animal welfare impacts. Mange is known to affect wombats and other Australian native species. The treatment of mange in wildlife is challenging. Guidelines were developed through the NESP Threatened Species Recovery Hub. The document consists of two separate sections: Part 1) Treatment guidelines including a summary mange treatment information sheet and recommendations for future research; underpinned by Part 2) a Literature review of current knowledge and treatment methods. The treatment guidelines are for stakeholders who are directly involved in managing and delivering treatment. The recommendations are for those working to coordinate the overall response to mange. The literature review provides a snapshot of existing research-based and anecdotal knowledge. To access the guidelines: Part 1 - Treatment guidelinesTwo-page information sheetPart 2 - Literature review

Disease Strategy Manual for Chytridiomycosis

This strategy sets out the disease control principles for use in an emergency incident caused by Chytridiomycosis / Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Australia. Chytridiomycosis was introduced into Australia at least by 1978 and is thought to have caused amphibian declines and extinctions in 1979. A disease investigation began in 1993 and the novel disease chytridiomycosis was found to be the cause of widespread amphibian declines and extinctions. Now the disease is widespread throughout most of its preferred range and there are only a few uninfected populations where chytridiomycosis may have an impact on conservation. This first edition of this manual was prepared by Lee Berger and Lee F. Skerratt, James Cook University. The authors were responsible for drafting the strategy, in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders throughout Australia. 

Click here to find out more information.

Koala Disease Risk Analysis

The Koala Health Hub (in collaboration with Wildlife Health Australia and the IUCN) has completed the national Koala Disease Risk Analysis (KDRA). This is the first disease risk analysis to examine disease risk for an Australian wildlife species at the national level. This nationwide approach was made possible through the support of the Australian Government and with the enthusiastic participation and engagement of a range of stakeholders. The stakeholder group each brought their unique perspective to evaluation of disease in this iconic species and developed the following Vision Statement which underpins the recommendations of the KDRA:

Sustainable, resilient and healthy populations of koalas, living in positive welfare within healthy ecosystems across their range. Koalas are well-managed in their local context and populations are supported by robust and consistent legislation, informed community engagement and long-term funding.

The KDRA Report and Appendices (published as two separate documents) offer a national, consolidated resource for decision-making in relation to koala health and disease priorities. They identify the knowledge base, information gaps, risk assessments and critical control points for koala disease hazards. They provide guidance for koala management at all jurisdictional levels, in all geographical ranges and for koalas in all management situations (captive, rehabilitation and wild).

The KDRA documents have recently been updated (May 2023) to include detailed, prioritised recommendations and to develop koala health and disease actions in alignment with other national koala conservation initiatives.

Ehlichia canis & Wild Dingoes Disease Risk Assessment

Ehrlichia canis is a tick-borne disease of dogs that emerged in Australia in May 2020. The disease has had a devastating impact on dogs in remote communities in the NT and northern WA, where it is now considered established. Dingoes are closely related to domestic dogs, but there is very little information on the likely impacts of E. canis on wild dingoes.

Wildlife Health Australia undertook this Disease Risk Assessment to examine the possible risks of Ehrlichia canis to wild dingoes, to identify gaps in knowledge and to identify actions that could be undertaken to reduce the risk that E. canis poses to wild dingoes.

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COVID-19 & Australian Bats Risk Assessment

August 2020

Wildlife Health Australia, in collaboration with government and non-government stakeholders, is continually assessing information on the COVID-19 situation. A risk assessment was conducted to assess the likelihood of SARS-CoV-2 establishing in an Australian bat population following human-to-bat transmission, and the resulting consequences:

Quantitative Risk Assessment – COVID-19 & Australian Bats (August 2020)

Publication: Cox-Witton K et al (2021). Risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from humans to bats – An Australian assessment. One Health, 13, 100247

White-nose syndrome in bats in Australia

Wildlife Health Australia, with funding from the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment commissioned a disease risk assessment for the potential introduction of white-nose syndrome to Australia. This report was prepared by a team of experts led through the University of Melbourne in collaboration with the South Australian Museum, DELWP (Arthur Rylah Institute) Victoria and the University of Adelaide. 

Find the risk assessment report here.

Publication: Holz P et al (2019). Does the fungus causing white-nose syndrome pose a significant risk to Australian bats? Wildlife Research, 46(8), 657-68

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HPAI incursion risk assessment for Australia

The risk (likelihood and consequence) of HPAI H5N1 clade incursions into Australia via wild birds

High pathogenicity avian influenza (HPAI), or “bird flu”, is an infectious disease that causes severe illness and death in poultry and wild birds. HPAI can also cause disease in mammals, including rare cases in people. Since 2021, a new strain of HPAI, called HPAI H5N1 clade, has caused significant illness and deaths in poultry and wild birds on all continents except Oceania. This strain of HPAI has not been detected in Australia.

To better understand the risk of HPAI and help guide preparedness efforts, the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) commissioned work to assess Australia’s vulnerability to this disease, including a risk assessment. The risk assessment report focuses on the likelihood and consequence of HPAI H5N1 clade incursions into Australia via wild birds with establishment in wild birds, poultry or wild mammals.

The risk was assessed to have increased compared to previous risk assessments. This is partly because an outbreak of clade is likely to have more severe impacts than previous strains of HPAI, including impacts on wild birds. 

This risk assessment was based on information available as of the 20 July 2023. The global avian influenza situation is dynamic and since this report was commissioned HPAI emerged in the sub-Antarctic, thousands more wild birds and marine mammals have been infected, and a considerable number of scientific studies have been published addressing the ecology, evolution, virology, pathogenicity of this virus. As remaining knowledge gaps and uncertainties are being steadily addressed, sections of the risk assessment will be revised in due course. Key updates are noted in the document.

There is no way to prevent HPAI entering Australia through migratory movements of wild birds into Australia. It is important that individuals or groups who may observe or handle wild birds are aware of HPAI, to ensure appropriate reporting and investigation is undertaken and to ensure risks to themselves and other animals are minimised. The National Avian Influenza in Wild Birds Program will continue nationwide surveillance for all avian influenza viruses. Stay up to date via the DAFF and Wildlife Health Australia websites.

WHA would like to acknowledge the significant expertise and comprehensive assessments undertaken by Dr Marcel Klaassen (Deakin University) and Dr Michelle Wille (The University of Melbourne) in addition to critical contributions and feedback from members of the National Avian Influenza Wild Bird Steering Group.