CIE Seminar Series 2014 – The role of the Australian Wildlife Health Network (AWHN) and what the future holds

Rupert WoodsSPEAKER: Dr Rupert WoodsAustralian Wildlife Health Network, Sydney Taronga Zoo, New South Wales DATETuesday, 3rd June 2014
LOCATION: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room ka4.207
TIME: 2:00 pm
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood, Room LT9 (N1.04) and Warrnambool Campus, Room C.1.13

ABSTRACT: As a result of the discovery of Australian Bat Lyssavirus and following the outbreak of Hendra virus, both disease emerging from wild animals during the 1990’s, Australia initiated the development of structures to ensure that wild animal disease were better known and managed, especially those of potential risk to people , production animals and trade. The Australian Wildlife Health Network (AWHN) was established in 2002 following a national workshop, an Australia-wide feasibility study and stakeholder consultation. Since then AWHN has proved vital to coordinate preparedness and response to wildlife and feral animal disease issues, surveillance, technical and diagnostic information across Australia.

Now that AWHN has been operating for more than ten years, a national review was undertaken, including consideration of Australia’s needs for the future, in conjunction with government agencies and AWHN clients, stakeholders and funders. The AWHN Management Group and Operations Committee and key funding agencies used the information to develop models for AWHN and management of wildlife disease in Australia to meet our needs in the coming decades.

As a result, a new organisation has been established to take forward the work done by AWHN. Wildlife Health Australia commenced operating in November 2013, with funding from the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture and contributions from state and territory agencies with responsibilities for the environment, agriculture and human health and stakeholders.

It is planned that Wildlife Health Australia will be fully operational from July 1, 2014 as a separate independent legal entity. This seminar discusses the role of AWHN and what the future holds for the new organisation, Wildlife Health Australia.

BIO: Rupe has been with the Australian Wildlife Health Network from its inception. His main activity involves working with, and supporting, a diversity of stakeholders in their efforts to further develop and improve Australia’s wildlife health system. The emphasis is on surveillance and coordinating the many Australian sources of wildlife data into a single, centralised data base that can be used to protect Australia’s trade, human health and biodiversity. A second priority is in improving Australia’s wildlife emergency disease preparedness and response capability. Rupe is interested in Australia, its systems and how they organise. From July 1st, he will become CEO of the newly established Wildlife Health Australia.

For enquiries and appointments with the guest speaker, please email Natasha Kaukov.