Wildlife Health In Spotlight On World Wildlife Day

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

Australia is celebrating World Wildlife Day on March 3 by highlighting a climate change impact guidance tool for wildlife, being developed through the One Health Surveillance Initiative, to assist decision makers in anticipating the role climate change may play in the health and disease in wildlife species.

The World Wildlife Day 2024 theme Connecting People and Planet, celebrates healthy ecosystems and rich biodiversity through showcasing how vital they are for the survival and connection of humans, animals, and plants.

Australian Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Beth Cookson, said a healthy environment is the foundation for the health of all living things.

“Wildlife health is important and adopting a true ‘One Health’ approach recognises the link between human, animal, and environmental health, which is essential to preventing future pandemics,” said Dr Cookson.

As part of the One Health Surveillance Initiative supported by the department, Wildlife Health Australia (WHA) is running a One Health Investigation Fund, to boost support for collaborative field, laboratory, and epidemiological investigations into health issues involving wildlife in Australia.

The tool guides the user through the exposure pathways for climate-associated disease in wildlife, promoting a comprehensive evaluation of climate change impacts, thereby improving Australia’s early warning capabilities.

“The climate change impact guidance tool aids decision-makers in understanding the complexities of the threat of climate change to wildlife and their environments,” said Dr Cookson.

“Currently being finalised by WHA, the climate change impact guidance tool will be made available to veterinarians, biologists, public health scientists, ecologists and professionals exploring the impacts of climate change on ecosystems and wildlife.”

/Public Release. View in full here.