The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was signed on 3rd March 1973, and in 2013 the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 3rd March as UN World Wildlife Day. The aim is to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants.
In 2021, World Wildlife Day celebrated the theme “Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet”. For many years, we have seen changes on our planet – pathogens like Nipah and MERS viruses have emerged from wildlife to affect humans; diseases like African swine fever respect neither national nor farm boundaries, passing between livestock and wildlife; changes in agricultural practices have encroached on wildlife habitats and increased wildlife-human interactions; climate change has affected the habitat of both people and animals, and natural disasters have increased. In 2020, the world became more acutely aware of the global devastation that can result when a pathogen like SARS-CoV-2 circulates between humans, domestic animals and wildlife.
In 2020, the OIE developed a new Wildlife Health Management Framework; the overall objective is to protect wildlife health worldwide to achieve One Health. Implementation will involve a One Health approach to concentrate on the human-animal-ecosystem interface. Veterinary authorities need to remain informed and maintain close liaison with those responsible for wildlife, to ensure coherent and appropriate risk communication and risk management under a One Health approach.
In response to the various issues outlined above, we look to the future role of veterinarians in One Health initiatives across sectors – animal (both domestic and wild), human and environment. It is vital to train the next generation of veterinarians well so they can tackle such issues. Towards this goal, the OIE Regional Representation in Asia and the Pacific organised a webinar on “The evolving role of veterinarians in wildlife health for One Health”. The target audience was veterinary students and young professionals who are at the forefront of this new era.
The meeting was held virtually over a 2-hour session, using the Zoom platform and livestreamed on YouTube. The recording is available to view here.
The event focused on Asia and the Pacific region but was open for participants globally. Young veterinarians interested in or already involved in wildlife health activities—including conservation, rescue and research work—were specifically targeted. There were over 400 registrations to the event, with some participants joining via Zoom and others watching on YouTube.
Agenda and presentations
The final agenda with links to presentations can be found here.
A summary of the discussion is here.