Global conservation implications for health assessment studies in non-captive wildlife

Kophamel, Sara, Illing, Bjorn, Ariel, Ellen, Ward, Leigh C., Mendez, Diana, Skerratt, Lee F., Hamann, Mark, Difalco, Morgan, and Munns, Suzanne (2021) Global conservation implications for health assessment studies in non-captive wildlife. In: [Presented at CUENCA 2021]. 51. p. 178. From: CUENCA 2021: 69th Wildlife Disease Association (WDA)/14th European Wildlife Disease Association (EWDA) Joint Virtual Conference, 30 August - 2 September 2021, Online.

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Wildlife health assessments help identify populations at risk of starvation, disease, and decline from anthropogenic impacts on natural habitats. We provide an overview of available health assessment studies in non-captive vertebrates, and propose a framework to strategically integrate health assessments in population monitoring. Using a systematic approach, we performed a thorough assessment of studies examining multiple health parameters of non-captive vertebrate species from 1982 to 2020 (n=261). We quantified trends in study design and diagnostic methods across taxa. We found a spatial mismatch between biodiversity hotspots and study location. Only 35% of studies involved international or cross-border collaboration. IUCN Red List non-threatened species represented 49% of species assessed, a trend likely associated with the regional focus of most studies. We identified a critical need for using statistically adequate sample sizes for studies establishing reference ranges, and strongly suggest following strict protocols when planning the study design. The main health assessment methods used across all taxa were blood analysis (89%), body composition assessment methods (81%), physical examination (72%) and faecal analysis (24% of studies). Based on our findings, we propose a conceptual framework for improved design and standardization for quality wildlife health assessments. Integrating a physiological and ecological understanding of species resilience towards threatening processes will enable informed decision making regarding the conservation of threatened species.

Item ID: 78252
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
Keywords: Biodiversity Hotspots, Conceptual Framework, Diagnostic Methods, Reference Ranges, Systematic Review
Funders: SeaWorld Research and Rescue Foundation (SWRRF)
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2023 03:03
FoR Codes: 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3009 Veterinary sciences > 300904 Veterinary diagnosis and diagnostics @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310907 Animal physiological ecology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1802 Coastal and estuarine systems and management > 180201 Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems @ 40%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180502 Assessment and management of pelagic marine ecosystems @ 40%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180601 Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems @ 20%
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