July 29, 2011

In the Spotlight: Wildlife Health Event Reporter

Observed Sick or Dead Wildlife in Your Area? Consider Using the Wildlife Health Event Reporter!

Developed by the Wildlife Disease Information Node in collaboration with its partners the USGS National Wildlife Health Center and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Wildlife Health Event Reporter (WHER) provides citizens who are concerned about dead or sick wildlife with a means to report these sightings.

If you notice sick or dead wildlife during your recreational or routine activities, such as driving to work, walking in your neighborhood, biking local trails, or vacationing out of town, you can report what you see online on the WHER website or by using a smart phone app in less than five minutes.

Submitting Reports Online

Go to the WHER website, www.wher.org. After creating an account, you can enter your observations. The system will guide you step-by-step through the process. Information such as date and location, the species of animal(s) involved, any action taken, and any additional observations are recorded.

As a registered user, you can also manage your account. You can see your individual reporting history separately or joined with other users' reports. After a user completes a report, contact information for the area's local wildlife agency will be provided, if available.

Go Mobile

Users can also make reports to WHER using mobile phone technology. HealthMap.org has enhanced its smartphone application “Outbreaks Near Me”, www.healthmap.org/outbreaksnearme, to collect and relay animal disease reports to the WHER website. The mobile application captures data elements similar to the web-based WHER application and also allows users to upload photos.

Monitor WHER Reports

Stay up-to-date on wildlife health reports by signing up for email alerts or using the GeoRSS feeds to make your own maps. For more details on delivery options of WHER reports, visit the Wildlife Health Event Reporter News and Information site.

Why Collect This Information?

Seventy-five percent of emerging infectious diseases in humans began as animal infections, and most of these have involved wildlife. With the help of citizens, this system can collect timely and useful information about wildlife mortality events (e.g. date, location, and affected species). The data are integrated and summarized by the system to provide essential information for better understanding wildlife disease patterns and their potential impact on wildlife, human, and domestic animal health.

Other Information Sources about WHER
  • About WHER web page
  • Wildlife Event Reporter News and Information site
  • WHER Overview 2-Minute Video
  • USGS Press Release: Wildlife Health Reporting Tools May Help Prevent Human Illness - http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=2618