Garden Wildlife Health (GWH) is a collaborative project between the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), Froglife and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) which aims to monitor the health of, and identify disease threats to, British wildlife. Our particular focus is on garden birds, amphibians, reptiles and hedgehogs. For this we count on the help of the public to submit reports of sick or dead wildlife and to submit samples for analysis.
Wildlife diseases can cause population declines and even local species extinctions. They are a welfare concern (especially if they are caused, or exacerbated, by human activities) and some wildlife diseases can impact public health. It is important, therefore, that we monitor trends in wildlife diseases to identify their impact, underlying causes and to identify new and emerging threats. Every report submitted by the public contributes to a national database of wildlife disease incidents. Every sample submitted is examined and then archived into one of the largest wildlife tissue banks in the world. These are invaluable resources that provide a solid grounding to study and safeguard the health of British wildlife. We also create reports that inform government and NGO policies on conservation management and we liaise with the relevant agencies when a possible domestic animal or human health threat from wildlife is identified.