Oregon is one of the most respected and established state wildlife health programs in the country. This part of the US has a spectacular coastline, vast high deserts, fertile river valleys to forested mountain ranges, containing the most biologically diverse landscapes in the country with many threatened or endangered species of plants and animals.
Oregon State’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) oversees the health of over 900 different vertebrate species. This responsibility includes investigating disease outbreaks that threaten the magnificent animals that call Oregon home. Each animal can be exposed to many disease threats which can require extensive record-keeping. That’s thousands of documents and records per year!
An overload of documents can impede data organization and utilization that are crucial to maintaining healthy wildlife populations. When data is underutilized or lost, it equals resources lost, possible delays in individual or outbreak reporting, and preventable death.
VIEW veterinarians have been working with one of our pilot partners, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, to begin to incorporate historical and current wildlife health data into their customized version of our Wildlife Health Information System (WHIS). Integrating and implementing past and current records and data requires more than a simple database to store this information. It requires a database that not only assists in data processing, research, and reporting, but streamlines these processes. VIEW’s WHIS program is the only wildlife health platform that creates a profile for each individual animal that is comprehensive, and completely searchable. From these records, disease outbreaks can be detected, monitored, mapped, and quickly reported. In addition, WHIS provides a permanent and secure repository of critical information to allow retrospective studies from years of accumulated records in easy-to-use data spreadsheets generated directly from the WHIS platform.
The Oregon partnership brings to WHIS a very large existing database and a very engaged wildlife health unit to fully demonstrate the ease of use, exceptional data access, and superior reporting features that are important to a large state institution.
Dr. Kaiser has been working closely with the state wildlife veterinarians to implement WHIS at a time crucial for wildlife health. While visiting their lab, he saw dozens of deceased animals, reports, and calls coming in each and every day. “The sheer number of reports and cases is astounding. Implementing WHIS will allow for faster reporting of disease outbreaks, such as Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, and streamline research and conservation efforts”, says Dr. Kaiser. The next steps are to help ODFW with its immense caseload by integrating the platform into its department’s protocols.