WIRES to fund native animal diseases research at Sydney University

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native animal diseases
Photo: University of Sydney

WIRES is funding research at the University of Sydney School of Veterinary Science to better understand and manage wildlife diseases. The $200,000 grant over two years will support initiatives to improve disease diagnosis in native wildlife and ultimately improve long-term outcomes.

Disease outbreaks and resurgence in native wildlife are becoming more common due to the combination of climate change, unprecedented bushfires and long-term drought conditions.

According to WIRES CEO Leanne Taylor the grant aims to provide better understanding of disease causes, best practice treatment and ongoing issues such as the likelihood of cross species transmission.  

“Wildlife carers often rescue animals suffering with diseases and they rely on veterinarian advice to best treat and manage affected animals while in care,” Taylor said. 

“More research into wildlife diseases is greatly needed, particularly now with so many species moving to endangered status. We look forward to working with the University of Sydney School of Veterinary Science team to gain better insights into diagnosis and treatment for our native animals.”

The first phase of this project will be dedicated to surveying wildlife carers and veterinarians about the most common diseases that impact wildlife in care, that require better treatments or have indeterminate causes.

“The funding from WIRES will ultimately result in a marked reduction in illness and improved chances for a successful release and long-term post release survival for any species of birds, mammals, and reptiles that are brought into care,” University of Sydney research lead Professor David Phalen, from the School of Veterinary Science said. 

“The funding will also allow scientists at the University of Sydney, working with our partners, to determine the causes of many diseases that routinely impact wildlife—both in the wild and in care. Once the cause of a disease is known, means of treatment and control can be developed.”

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