Ten of the Association’s Australian member zoos and fauna parks have joined forces with the Zoo and Aquarium Association and Wildlife Health Australia (WHA) to participate in an innovative program collecting and reporting information on significant disease cases seen in wildlife brought to their wildlife rehabilitation hospitals. Most wildlife presented for treatment at our members’ wildlife hospitals is suffering from traumatic injury as a result of humans and our pets. However, a smaller but significant percentage of wildlife cases show signs of infectious disease such as Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease in rainbow lorikeets or Chytrid fungus in frogs. Participating zoos and fauna parks collect important information on these cases (when and where the animal was found, its species, age and the outcome of treatment). This information is then reported electronically into the national wildlife health surveillance database administered by WHA. This allows zoos and fauna parks to contribute to the protection of Australia’s environment, human and animal health, and to support the national system for surveillance and reporting of significant animal disease events. This information is critical for detection and management of new and emerging animal disease situations. The program has recorded over 1,100 cases of significance into the national database (August 2014).
The program began in November 2010 and has been generously supported by Australia’s Department of Agriculture, the Australian Centre for Excellence in Risk Analysis (ACERA), Australia’s Department of Health, Wildlife Health Australia (WHA), the Zoo and Aquarium Association, Zoos Victoria, Zoos South Australia, Perth Zoo, Australia Zoo and Taronga Conservation Society. Participating institutions are Adelaide Zoo, Australia Zoo, Currumbin Sanctuary, Healesville Sanctuary, Melbourne Zoo, Perth Zoo, SeaWorld, Taronga Conservation Society, Taronga Western Plains Zoo and Territory Wildlife Park.