Health and disease in translocated wild animals

Celebrating 25 years of the Zoological Society of London/Natural England Partnership in health surveillance for the Species Recovery Programme


Over the last 50 years, an increasing number of wild animal translocations have been undertaken for conservation purposes.  Wild animal translocations alter host-parasite encounters in the destination environment because each translocated animal represents a biological package of the host and their parasites.  Research and observational studies show that changes in host-parasite relations affect the risk of epidemic disease outbreaks in natural ecosystems.  Stressors acting on wild animals during transport, or during captive rearing, influence the pathogenicity of commensal parasites through immune-suppression.  In addition, non-infectious hazards, such as toxins, have detrimental effects on translocated populations post release.  Difficulties in predicting the risks from disease stem from our poor understanding of the identity, number, distribution and pathogenicity of parasites, and inadequate knowledge of the degree of exposure to non-infectious hazards.  Making decisions about disease risk management where there is poor knowledge often requires risk evaluation by experts to help inform decision makers in a transparent and defendable way.

This two-day symposium reviewed the impact of disease on species restoration through translocation, and considered lessons learned to guide effective planning and implementation of future translocation projects. Health management of conservation interventions was discussed, including methods of disease-risk analysis, evaluation of disease management alternatives, use of molecular tools to unravel disease risks, mitigation of diseases and methods for post-release health monitoring.

Organised by Tony Sainsbury (ZSL), Katherine Walsh (Natural England), Ian Carter (Natural England), John Ewen (ZSL) and Matt Hartley (RSPB).


Download the programme: Programme - ZSL Symposium 14-15 May 2015 (199.39 KB)

All abstracts - ZSL Symposium 14-15 May 2015 (597.26 KB)

Tim Hill, Chief Scientist at Natural England

Axel Moehrenschlager, Calgary Zoological Society
Ian Carter, Natural England
Jim Foster, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust
Leigh Lock, RSPB
Matt Hartley, Zoo and Wildlife Solutions representing RSPB
Tim Blackburn, University College London
Gabriela Peniche, Zoological Society of London
Mark Brown, Royal Holloway University of London
Peter J Hudson, Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, Pennsylvania State University
Myra Finkelstein, University of California, Santa Cruz
Richard Shore, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Richard Kock, Royal Veterinary College, London
Andrew Greenwood, International Zoo Veterinary Group
Carl Jones, Mauritian Wildlife Foundation and Durrell Wildlife Academy
Molly J Dickens, University of California, Berkeley
Ruth Cromie, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust

Katie Beckmann, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, ZSL and RVC
John Ewen, Zoological Society of London
Stefano Canessa, University of Melbourne

Sarah Converse, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, United States Geological Survey
James D Nichols,
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, United States Geological Survey

For further information, please contact the Scientific Events Coordinator by emailing, or 0207 449 6227.

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