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Public can help track wildlife health with online tool

Wildlife Health Surveillance infographicA new wildlife health tracking website developed by the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative at the University of Guelph is getting the public involved in tracking wildlife health.

The online tool makes it easier for those interested in wildlife health to report sick and dead wild animals they encounter across Ontario.

“There is a wide span of benefits for a tool like this,” says one of the researchers analyzing the tool, Mark Reist, a student in the Master of Public Health (MPH) program at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College.

“It can increase understanding, and collaboration between individuals interested in wildlife and public health, including researchers and citizens interested in wildlife.”

Hunters, biologists, and the public can access the Wildlife Health Tracker website to submit their findings, including information such as the location, appearance, state of the animal and any photos they may have taken. That information will then be stored and accessible to the public via the site’s interactive map.

“The health of wildlife, domestic animals, humans, and the environment are all connected,” says Reist, who is supervised by OVC pathobiology professor Claire Jardine and the CWHC’s Jane Parmley. “By tracking wildlife disease, we will learn more about conditions affecting wildlife health and can develop and implement better programs to protect wildlife health in Ontario.

Read the entire article by OVC SPARK writer Sydney Pearce on the U of G’s Office of Research website

Mark describes more about his work in this video from the Ontario Animal Health Network.