New Garden Wildlife Health Project – website : Reporter Alwyn Jackson

Garden Wildlife Health (GWH) is a collaborative project between the Zoological Society of London, the Bristish Trust for Ornithology, Froglife and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds which aims to monitor the health of, and identify disease threats to British wildlife.
Their particular focus is on garden birds, amphibians, reptiles and hedgehogs. For this they count on the help of the public to submit reports of sick or dead wildlife and to submit samples for analysis.
Wildlife diseases can cause population declines and even local species extinctions. They are a welfare concern (especially if they are caused, or exacerbated, by human activities) and some wildlife diseases can impact public health. It is important, therefore, that trends in wildlife diseases are monitored to identify their impact, underlying causes and to identify new and emerging threats. Every report submitted by the public contributes to a national database of wildlife disease incidents. Every sample submitted is examined and then archived into one of the largest wildlife tissue banks in the world. These are invaluable resources that provide a solid grounding to study and safeguard the health of British wildlife. The GWH also creates reports that inform government and NGO policies on conservation management and they liaise with the relevant agencies when a possible domestic animal or human health threat from wildlife is identified.
The aims of GWH are:-
To monitor trends and investigate emerging threats to garden wildlife health.
To raise public awareness of disease threats to garden wildlife.
To promote best practice for activities that involve garden wildlife to help safeguard their health.
To communicate outcomes to the public, scientific communities and government agencies to prioritise actions to enhance the environment and biodiversity, public and domestic animal health.
To provide a database and wildlife tissue archive for collaborative research.
The GWH project has just launched its new website (www.gardenwildlifehealth.org), full of information and advice on disease in garden wildlife. Through reports submitted to the project, the partners have been able to improve their understanding of common conditions. This has allowed them to update their management advice for diseases such as trichomonosis, the illness largely responsible for Greenfinch population declines (over 60% since 2005).
On the website you can view disease factsheets for birds, reptiles, amphibians and hedgehogs and also get help to identify symptoms.
WVBS members are urged to do all they can to contribute to the GWH project and protect the health of their garden and British wildlife.
Thank you on behalf of all British birds, reptiles, amphibians and hedgehogs.

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