Ensuring healthy wildlife to ensure a safer world

© A.Thiermann

Paris, 3 March 2016 – For the third consecutive year, the World Organisation for Animal Health welcomes the World Wildlife Day.

In a world where five new human infectious diseases appear on average every year, three of them coming from animals, mostly from wildlife, the OIE recognizes the importance of healthy wildlife populations, which are sentinels for human and domestic animal health for infectious diseases and toxic threats. Early detection, prevention and surveillance of the wild animals’ diseases are essential. In addition, as disease outbreaks may present risk of decline or even extinction of already threatened species, the health of wildlife is a key management component for their conservation.


Within the framework of the overall mandate to improve animal health and welfare, the Organisation assists its 180 Member Countries to address disease impacts on wild animals, by developing animal health international standards and supporting its Members in strengthening their Veterinary Services to protect animal health and welfare including aspects related to wildlife and biodiversity.

The OIE also assures transparency on animal diseases through the global information systems OIE WAHIS which includes WAHIS-Wild, a web interface dedicated to the collection and dissemination of information on wildlife diseases.

Through its adoption in May 2015, the OIE’s 6th Strategic Plan (2016-2020) has reaffirmed thE OIE engagement for wildlife, by identifying, as a major consideration, the importance of influencing policy design, education, research and governance on worldwide issues which include the interface between eco-system health and animal health, the protection of endangered animal species and the impact of the loss of biodiversity on disease occurrences.

Since 1994, these OIE strategies and policies on wildlife and biodiversity have been developed in close collaboration with the OIE Working Group on Wildlife, composed of world-renowned experts.

Furthermore, the OIE and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) signed an agreement in 2015 to strengthen their collaboration on animal health and welfare issues. This collaboration agreement supports the safeguarding of biodiversity through implementation of surveillance and disease control measures needed to protect animal and human health worldwide.It wil apply to such fields as safe legal international trade in and transport of CITES-listed wild animal, the safe and rapid transport of biological samples from these animals for diagnosis or ientification, particularly to the OIE Reference Centres network, as well as the prevention and control of invasive alien species.  

          © Eco Health Alliance

The OIE is also a key partner of the Collaborative Partnership on Sustainable Wildlife Management (CPW), a partnership of international organizations with substantive mandates and programmes for the sustainable use and conservation of wildlife resources. The OIE provides ongoing input to the CPW on wildlife health in promoting both human and animal wellbeing. Finally,  the OIE also collaborates with the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC), in particular for the implementation of a training programme for hunters in order to facilitate their contribution to early detection, reporting and management of diseases affecting wildlife using a “training the trainers” mechanism.

Going beyond the narrow health perspective, wild animals are valued by people and cultures around the world, and serve as an integral part of ecosystems on which we all depend. They provide mutual benefits to all humans, other wildlife species and agriculture — such as pest control, pollination, water quality maintenance, and nutrition, and, in many parts of the world, serve as important sources of both revenue and nutrition for people.

Protecting them means preserving our future.

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