Disease Monitoring of Wildlife Intakes

The Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic (BWRC) works with all wildlife species (native/non-native) to ensure disease monitoring is occurring and being reported. Upon intake a thorough examination is conducted on all intakes. According to the condition of the patient, a treatment plan is developed to ensure optimal health before advancing into later stages of rehabilitation. Bi-weekly/ weekly microscopy of fecal samples are conducted for all patients, 3 clean fecal samples are required for advancement in rehabilitation. Patients are vaccinated and treated with tick preventative and dewormer.

Wildlife Ambassador Program: Increasing awareness to reduce Human-Wildlife Conflict and Illegal Wildlife Trade/Trafficking using the One Health Approach to highlight the importance of having healthy wildlife and environment to have healthy humans.

The Wildlife Ambassador Program (WAP) is an outreach and educational program with the goal to decrease wildlife loss from Human Wildlife Conflict and Illegal Wildlife Trade. WAP uses the One Health approach which explains the connection between human, animal and environmental health. Zoonotic diseases, potential pandemics, and simple prevention and response mechanisms available are at the forefront of the program in order to help people stay safe while being part of the solution. The Wildlife Ambassador program is especially for Belize enforcement officers, conservation organizations as well as wildlife conservation enthusiasts and community members who want to protect themselves and others while helping Belize’s wildlife. WAP offers a combined online and in person capacity building program including Species Identification for native species, common conflicts and emergencies, Legislation, Wildlife Emergency and Response. Ambassadors will be equipped with a toolkit that includes field Pocket Guides on Human-Wildlife Conflict and Wildlife And The Law.


SIMPEL- Addressing Wildlife Risk Knowledge Gaps at the Environment-Health Nexus of the Andes-Amazon-Orinoco: Socio-ecological Impacts and Mechanisms of Pathogen Emergence in Changing Landscapes (Volkswagen Stiftung)

Human alterations of landscapes and resultant impacts on human and animal distributions are key environmental changes occurring worldwide. Evidence is growing that such anthropogenic environmental changes are driving increased emergence of zoonotic pathogens. However, the current understanding of these linkages is limited, primarily correlative, and inconsistent across spatial and temporal scales, pathogens, transmission routes, and ecological contexts. This project will apply inter- and trans- disciplinary studies to characterize the ecological and social impacts of transitions from one land-use type to another, including effects on wild and domestic hosts, their pathogens, and human-nature relations. The project focuses on the under-studied, highly biodiverse, and rapidly changing landscapes of the Andes-Amazon-Orinoco in Colombiaand Bolivia, and the Indigenous and local communities reliant on them. We will define the links between potential pathogen emergence and environmental transformation to better detect, predict and prevent future pandemic emergence associated with land use change, and strengthen the evidence base for integrating health into environmental conservation and development policies and Indigenous territorial management plans.

Links to institutional outputs can be found on the institute website.

Pandemic literacy and viral zoonotic spillover risk at the frontline of disease emergence in Southeast Asia to improve pandemic preparedness (PANDASIA; EU HORIZON)

The PANDASIA project provides a framework that will increase our understanding of the biology of viruses with emerging infectious disease potential and their interaction with humans, animals, and the environment and translate this understanding into proactive preventative actions. Such research is crucial for providing evidence-based knowledge and tools for better integrative public health measures for local and national actors. We will develop models to identify and predict drivers of disease emergence, which will be evaluated with real-world data, refined, and used to develop health and pandemic literacy intervention strategies that reduce the risk of future viral emergence, thereby reducing the burden of zoonotic spillover to human health. Since pandemics arise at a local level, it is important to engage with local communities and health, environment, and agriculture authorities to improve their health and pandemic literacy to ensure adequate preparedness and vigilance for future spillover events and human, animal, and environmental health threats.

More information on the PANDASIA project

Purging of deleterious retroviral integrations at the earliest stages of genomic invasion (DFG GR 3924/15-1)

The goal of the project is to demonstrate that intact koala retroviruses (KoRVs) are purged from the koala population and replaced by degraded versions potentially less harmful to the host species. What has been lacking is a natural system to directly and in a controlled fashion, examine birth, purging and fixation of KoRVs and degraded KoRVs and to test whether an empirical basis for the fixation of neutral KoRVs and purging of deleterious KoRVs exists. We are well placed to study such population genetic effects of endogenization using animals on the Island of St. Bees. Since this koala population is on an island and derived from few founders, we have the opportunity to directly observe purging effects due to deleterious KoRVs that exhibit effects as homozygotes or heterozygotes and to observe their birth and death.

Research to explore Intersectoral Collaborations for One Health Approach (RICOHA) in India

One Health (OH) implementation relies on collaboration across sectors and actors; however, there is a lack of understanding on the required level of integration/collaboration. In the context of globalisation and destabilisation at the interfaces of the human-animal- environment implementation of OH, building health system resilience is mercurial for countries of the Global South like India. The RICOHA (Research to explore Intersectoral Collaborations for One Health Approach) study, conducted from 2017 to 2020 in Ahmedabad, India, attempted to shed light on One Health implementation and practice. It encapsulated the intersectoral network strength, actors and system factors of the current health system (human & animal), and the degree of collaboration and factors responsible for OH implementation in the local context. It also captured the zoonotic disease awareness level and practices in the community, especially among cattle handlers. Due to a lack of data on the disease burden, initiating the OH implementation process was challenging. Thus, the RICOHA project explored possible strategies to operationalise OH in the selected study settings. This study documented prioritisation of zoonotic diseases, potential OH actors, their power-influence relation and pattern of intersectoral collaboration in the multifaceted health system. Finally, different OH strategies and OH enabling factors were documented and validated.

More Information

One Health System Strengthening in India (OHSSIN)- Co-creating One Health workforce through health system strengthening in Western India 

The surge in emerging and re-emerging diseases, especially zoonoses, over the first decades of the 21st Century has highlighted the need for health system strengthening in general and the implementation of One Health in particular. Findings from one of our previous studies, Research to explore Intersectoral Collaborations for One Health Approach (RICOHA) in India, highlighted a lack of collaboration among the health workforce due to low awareness and knowledge of One Health and lacked thereof community participation. Therefore, training the health workforce in the One Health approach is essential for overcoming implementation barriers. A series of stakeholder workshops will be conducted, the emerging threats and risks at the One Health nexus will be identified and prioritized in three western Indian states, i.e., Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra. Training courses will equip the clinical and community health workforce with the necessary knowledge and tools to contribute to One Health implementation and consequent health system strengthening.

More information on COHERD

Confiscated Animals – Rescue and Enforcement (CARE Project)

Live wild animals are being illegally captured, transported and sold at a shocking rate. Often, the animals targeted by illegal traffickers are threatened or protected species. Law enforcement agencies combatting this illegal trade are in urgent need of improved support to handle and care for seized live animals. Since current efforts to combat the illegal wildlife trade are largely focused on wildlife products, limited attention is provided to live animals rescued from trafficking. Live seizures and confiscations are an underrepresented part of combatting the illegal wildlife trade. Humane, safe handling and care of wildlife are critical to helping reduce health risks to both people and animals, and remedy negative impacts on biodiversity and animal welfare. The CARE project aims to provide a global framework of resources for government agencies to handle and care for animals seized in trade and develop the capacities of frontline officers in Indonesia, Congo, and Guyana. Each of these countries is significantly impacted by the illegal wildlife trade and law enforcement officers frequently confiscate live animals. We are developing the solutions needed to ensure that confiscated animals are treated humanely and safely and receive the best care while in custody. Our goal is to rescue animals from the illegal wildlife trade and prosecute trafficking crimes in a way that prioritizes humane outcomes for wildlife.

Project website: CARE – Indonesia, Congo and Guyana | IFAW

Photo: Lois Lelanchon / © IFAW