A special request from our friends at the Institute of Zoology.....
Wildlife disease can cause population declines and even species extinctions. It is important, therefore, that we monitor trends in diseases to determine their impact on populations and to identify new and emerging threats.
However, our understanding of disease incidence and distribution in our native popluations of amphibians and reptiles, is still relatively poor. The Institute of Zoology (IoZ) have been building a database of disease incidents in amphibians since 1992 and, with the new Garden Wildlife Health project in place, can now extend this to our native wild reptiles. Every report submitted contributes to our understanding of disease threats and each dead animal submitted is examined by a wildlife vet at IoZ. The post mortem results are recorded on a national database and samples are archived into one of the largest wildlife tissue banks in the world. These findings provide an invaluable aid to allow us to study and safeguard the health of British reptiles and amphibians, and the results will be used inform and influence government and NGO policies on conservation management.
All of this is only possible because people (like you!) are motivated to get involved and report what they are seeing. So next time you are out and about, please report any sick or dead amphibians or reptiles to us at the Garden Wildlife Health website.
It's free to get involved in GWH, and you'll receive feedback from a veterinary surgeon about the incident. Furthermore, the project regularly performs post-mortem examination on carcasses to determine the cause of death.
for more information go to www.gardenwildlifehealth.org
Note: 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 – including reptiles and amphibians. The project receives funding from Defra and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. The long-term direction of the project is informed by members of the GWH forum which includes Amphibian and Reptile Groups of the UK (ARGUK), Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC) and the Freshwater Habitats Trust.