Wildlife health, habitat health and human health are intrinsically linked. Disease investigation and surveillance in combination with a widespread, integrated health database is a key element to the effective detection of disease events and guiding effective action to prevent the spread of disease and population loss.
The Australian Registry of Wildlife Health (ARWH) has been diagnosing healthy and diseased conditions in free-ranging and captive wildlife since it was established in 1985. Through collaboration with wildlife carers and conservation groups, the ARWH has built a valuable resource of health information and case material representing wildlife across Australia. With a grant from the Australian Bio-security Intelligence Network, the ARWH is now poised to become a primary hub for collaborative wildlife health investigations. A state-of-the-art information management system, accessible throughout Australia and internationally by scientists, teachers and students will leverage our collaborative capacity and help train the future generation of wildlife health experts.
Taronga also has a unique opportunity to gather data on normal and abnormal health values during regular health assessments and the rescue and rehabilitation of native fauna at the Taronga Wildlife Hospitals at both Taronga and Taronga Western Plains Zoos. Staff veterinarians and a pathologist collaborate with the registry to analyse this valuable data to better understand and inform management decisions with respect to the factors threatening biodiversity and ecosystem health in Australia.
The Australian Wildlife Health Network (AWHN) is hosted by Taronga and the NSW Department of Industry and Investment. The aim of the AWHN is to facilitate collaborative links in the investigation and management of wildlife health in support of human and animal health, biodiversity and trade. The Network has developed a National framework for research, and its current priority is in co-ordinating, facilitating and promoting projects to potential sponsors.