Ten of the Association’s Australian member institutions participate in an innovative program coordinated by the Zoo and Aquarium Association and Wildlife Health Australia (WHA) to collect and report information on significant disease cases seen in wildlife brought to their rehabilitation hospitals. A small but significant percentage of wildlife cases show signs of infectious disease such as psittacine beak and feather disease, chlamydia in koalas or chytrid fungus in frogs. Vets from participating zoos and fauna parks collect important information (when and where the animal was found, its species, age and the outcome of treatment) that is then fed into the national wildlife health surveillance database, which forms part of Australia’s surveillance system for animal disease. The information is critical for national detection and management of new and emerging animal disease situations. Through this program, our members contribute to the protection of Australia’s environment, biodiversity, animal and human health.
The program also helps to demonstrate the capacity, biosecurity awareness and reporting capabilities of the zoo industry nationally, and indirectly supports all Association members in business processes such as permitting, importation of overseas zoo animals and stakeholder engagement. The program has recorded over 2,000 cases of significance into the national database since inception in November 2010. For the eighth year in a row, Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and Wildlife Health Australia will provide generous financial support to the Zoo and Aquarium Association and participating institutions (Adelaide Zoo, Australia Zoo, Currumbin Sanctuary, Healesville Sanctuary, Melbourne Zoo, Perth Zoo, SeaWorld, Taronga Conservation Society, Taronga Western Plains Zoo and Territory Wildlife Park) to undertake this important work.
Andrea Reiss, Regional Veterinary Officer, ZAA