Wildlife, Humans, & Livestock
Our global economies, communication, and travel increasingly link Earth’s citizens, ideas, and species. But to wildlife health scientists, a serious consequence of our seemingly shrinking world is the increased frequency and kinds of physical interactions between wildlife, domestic animals, and people. Recent outbreaks of West Nile virus, Ebola hemorrhagic fever, SARS, monkeypox, mad cow disease, avian influenza, and H1N1—or swine flu—demonstrate some of the outcomes of these interactions. Other consequences include species loss, habitat degradation, and invasive species, with global climate change positioned to exacerbate them all.
The rise of emerging and resurging infectious diseases threatens not only humans (and their food supplies and economies), but also the animals and plants comprising our planet’s living infrastructure. The effectiveness of humankind’s environmental stewardship and our future health have never been more clearly connected.
WCS helped launch One World – One Health™ to promote an international and interdisciplinary strategy for combating threats to the health of life on Earth. The initiative encourages health experts from around the world to discuss and share information regarding the movements of diseases among humans, domestic animals, and wildlife.
From the Newsroom
In certain urbanized landscapes of western India, leopards and other large carnivores have become routine visitors. But despite their increasing presence in areas devoid of wilderness, most go unnoticed.
A pneumonia outbreak reduces numbers of a wild population of endangered wild goats in Tajikistan by as much as 20 percent. Fewer than 2,500 markhor are left in the wild.
WCS researchers in Argentina help keep populations of wild caiman healthy by checking their farm-raised counterparts for Salmonella infections and other diseases.
WCS veterinarians working in Brazil evaluate whether forest fragmentation and other land-use changes make wildlife, as well as livestock, more susceptible to infectious diseases.
At our country's doorstep, WCS health experts are helping authorities investigate the smuggling of wildlife and its stowaway diseases.