Wildlife Health Event Reporter web site available
January 11, 2011
The mysterious die-off of 5,000 red-winged blackbirds in Arkansas earlier this month sparked interest in wildlife health.
Dead or ailing animals also can indicate significant threats to human health. Three-quarters of all recent emerging infectious diseases in people began as animal infections, most of them in wildlife. Avian influenza, SARS, West Nile virus and rabies are just a few of the human diseases in which wildlife play a role.
People anywhere with an Internet connection may report sightings of sick or dead wild animals through the Wildlife Health Event Reporter (WHER), a website developed recently by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center in Madison.
The site is designed to help wildlife and human health officials detect outbreaks, wherever they may occur, more quickly than before.