March 19, 2010

In the Spotlight – Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study

Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study

Providing continuous service since 1957 for the health of this nation's wildlife resources, domestic livestock, and people

The Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study was founded in 1957 by the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies to determine the cause of widespread die-offs of white-tailed deer. Headquarters and support facilities were made available through agreement with The University of Georgia's College of Veterinary Medicine in Athens, Georgia. This became the first diagnostic and research service to be established for the specific purpose of investigating wildlife diseases.

Since then, SCWDS has for nearly 50 years been investigating thousands of cases of sick and dying wild animals involving at least 200 different species. These experiences have led to a broad base of expertise and have revealed those recurring disease problems that are important in each wildlife species. Available through association with The University of Georgia is a full spectrum of diagnostic laboratory facilities. Specialized diagnostic tests are also provided through the support of cooperating federal laboratories and a network of collaborating scientists.

Mission of SCWDS

The objectives of SCWDS have always been to:

  • detect causes of sickness and death in wildlife
  • define the impact of diseases and parasites upon wild animal populations
  • delineate disease interrelationships between wildlife and domestic livestock
  • determine the role of wildlife in transmission of human diseases

Website Resource Highlights

SCWDS Briefs Newsletter

Published quarterly, the SCWDS Briefs newsletter provides information about recent wildlife disease developments in the southeastern area of the U.S. Each issue of this substantive publication is typically about 10 pages in length, and keeps the wildlife heath community updated, as well as knowledgeable, concerned citizens. Archived issues dating back to 1999 are searchable on the University of Nebraska’s Digital Commons site.

You can receive an advance notice for the on-line version by sending an email to either Gary Doster ( or Michael Yabsley (

Wildlife Distribution Maps

Visitors can access a number of population distribution maps dating back to 1970. The collection is comprised of colored, static maps that show the geographical distribution across the U.S. of species such as white-tailed deer, bighorn sheep, and elk.

To learn more about SCWDS and their contributions to wildlife disease management, please visit their website at