Garden Wildlife Health

Garden Wildlife Health helps to identify and investigate the diseases that affect garden wildlife across Great Britain. 

Launched in 2013, Garden Wildlife Health (GWH) is a collaborative project involving a number of conservation organisations. During 2013 the GWH project launched a web-based wildlife disease surveillance system in order to identify and investigate the diseases that affect garden wildlife across Great Britain. GWH builds on the success of long-running collaborative ZSL projects, including the Garden Bird Health initiative and the Frog Mortality Project .

This surveillance system initially focuses on garden birds, amphibians, reptiles and hedgehogs. By obtaining information about the diseases affecting these garden wildlife species with the assistance of the general public, including volunteers who systematically make observations on a weekly basis, and through the post mortem examination of affected animals, we aim to learn more about the conditions that affect our wildlife and any associated risk factors. Our results will inform conservation actions and garden wildlife management advice.

Through the Garden Wildlife Health project, we aim to:

  • Monitor trends and investigate emerging threats to garden wildlife health.
  • Raise public awareness of disease threats to garden wildlife and inform public practices that involve garden wildlife and disease.
  • Promote best practice for activities that involve garden wildlife to help safeguard their health, for example feeding garden birds.
  • Communicate outcomes to the public, scientific communities and government agencies to prioritise actions to enhance the environment and biodiversity, public and domestic animal health.
  • Provide a database and wildlife tissue archive for collaborative research.

Where can I find further information on Garden Wildlife Health?

  • Further information and advice can be found on the GWH webpage .

If you have any further queries, please email the GWH vets GWH@zsl.org.

The GWH Partners are:

  • Zoological Society of London
  • British Trust for Ornithology (BTO)
  • Froglife
  • Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)

Other GWH Forum members include:

  • Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC)
  • Amphibian and Reptile Groups of the UK (ARG-UK)
  • British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS)
  • Peoples Trust for Endangered Species (PTES)
  • Pond Conservation
  • Scottish Agricultural College (SAC)
  • The Mammal Society

The GWH is funded by the:

  • Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
  • Defra
Young healthy hedgehog - Garden Wildlife Health

UK WIldlife

Hedgehog in garden

How do I report death or illness in garden wildlife if I have internet access?

To report death or illness in garden birds, amphibians, reptiles and hedgehogs visit the Garden Wildlife Health website (www.gardenwildlifehealth.org).

How do I report death or illness in garden wildlife if I have no internet access?

Contact the GWH vets to report sightings of sick or dead garden birds, amphibians, reptiles and hedgehogs on Tel: 0207 449 6685.

Please do not submit carcasses for examination without prior arrangement and consent from one of the GWH veterinary surgeons.

Members of the public who are concerned about a sick or injured wild animal in their garden should contact their local veterinary surgeon, the RSPCA (24-hour tel. line: 0300 1234 999) or Scottish SPCA (24-hour Tel: 03000 999 999) for advice.