Garden Wildlife Health

What is Garden Wildlife Health? 

Garden Wildlife Health (GWH) is a collaborative project between ZSL, the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), Froglife and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). Launched in 2013, it aims to monitor the health of – and identify disease threats to – British wildlife, with a particular focus on garden birds, amphibians, reptiles and hedgehogs. 

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 even impact public health. 

By monitoring trends in wildlife diseases, we can assess their impact, look at underlying causes, and identify new and emerging threats. Our results inform conservation actions and garden wildlife management advice.

Hedgehog
Garden Wildlife Health monitors the health of British wildlife, including hedgehogs

What are our aims?  

  • To monitor trends and investigate emerging threats to garden wildlife health.
  • To raise public awareness of disease threats to garden wildlife.
  • To promote best practice for activities that involve garden wildlife to help safeguard their health.
  • To communicate outcomes to the public, scientific communities and government agencies to prioritise actions to enhance the environment and biodiversity, public and domestic animal health.
  • To provide a database and wildlife tissue archive for collaborative research.

Common frog
We rely on the public to submit reports of sick or dead garden wildlife

How can you help? 

We rely on the public to submit reports of sick or dead garden wildlife and samples for analysis.

Every report submitted contributes to a national database of wildlife disease incidents. Every sample 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. 

To report death or illness in garden birds, amphibians, reptiles and hedgehogs visit the Garden Wildlife Health website. You can also contact the GWH vets to report sightings of sick or dead garden birds, amphibians, reptiles and hedgehogs on Tel: 0207 449 6685 (phones open during office hours, Monday-Friday only).

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.

Welcoming wildlife 

As natural habitats shrink, our gardens are becoming more and more important for species, including insects, birds, amphibians, reptiles and hedgehogs. There are so many ways you can help us by welcoming wildlife into your garden - including by building a Bug Hotel! 

No matter how large or small your outdoor space is, there are so many ways you can make it a welcoming home for wildlife – from amazing insects like stag beetles and peacock butterflies, to hedgehogs and blue tits. You can provide a home for insects by building an insect hotel - even a pile of dead wood is a palace for all kinds of animals! 

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.

Find out more about Garden Wildlife Health 

How do I report death or illness in garden wildlife? 

To report death or illness in garden birds, amphibians, reptiles and hedgehogs visit the Garden Wildlife Health website or call 0207 449 6685 (phones open during office hours, Monday-Friday only).

If you are concerned about a sick or injured wild animal in your garden, please contact your local veterinary surgeon, the RSPCA (24-hour tel. line: 0300 1234 999) or Scottish SPCA (24-hour Tel: 03000 999 999) for advice.

Partners 

Other GWH Forum members include:

 

The GWH is funded by: