This workbook has been developed for the 6th Cycle Training for WOAH Focal Points for Wildlife. During the trainings associated with the previous cycles, focal points were surveyed to determine the topics they were most interested in receiving future training. From that survey, it was evident that there was a need to provide training in wildlife health information management. Despites its practical importance, this topic is not well represented in the wildlife health literature, and our goal was to help to fill this gap with the material presented within this workbook.
The workbook is structured to follow a logical progression associated with wildlife health information management. We begin by detailing why it is important to share wildlife health information. We examine common challenges associated with information sharing and explore potential opportunities to overcome these challenges. Next, we examine general principles to establish a wildlife health information network and provide some case studies of real-world examples of successful networks. This is intended to address who should be included in a network, and how to establish the network structure for acquiring wildlife health information. We then progress to discussing what type of data should be collected and describe some best practices for data management and curation. This section explores what to collect and share with regards to wildlife health information. Finally, we conclude with a discussion on data dissemination with a particular focus on using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as a tool for disseminating wildlife health information. This last section describes how to share wildlife information, which is generally the ultimate goal of wildlife health information management.
We intend this workbook to provide the basis for developing a general understanding of wildlife health information management; however, this topic is broad in scope, and application of the presented concepts is often highly dependent on local conditions, challenges and governmental structures. Therefore, we present the material at a general level drawing upon the literature, expert opinion and personal experience. Throughout the material, we provide references and electronic links to additional resources for readers who desire to develop a more in-depth understanding of the topics presented.
Wildlife health information management is becoming increasingly important component of surveillance and management of wildlife diseases. We hope this workbook will help focal points in maintaining and/or improving the health of wildlife in their countries for the benefit of wildlife, domestic animal and human health.