When diseases affect our wildlife, they can also impact the health of domestic animals and humans. Diseases may "spillover" from wildlife to other species, can be maintained in nature, develop new and more potent strains, and can travel across provincial, territorial, and national borders, often unimpeded. Increasing stresses due to habitat loss, international trade of animals and their parts, climate change, or any of the artificial constructs our human society creates – compound the health challenges faced by the wildlife species we share this planet with. Veterinarians and wildlife biologists work together to study, monitor, learn from, and support our wildlife populations.
Dr. Iga Stasiak is a veterinarian working as a wildlife health specialist in for the Ministry of the Environment in Saskatchewan. She works on a number of initiatives in that province, and is particularly active working on management of Chronic Wasting Disease, a disease of cervids. She discusses Chronic Wasting Disease and its surveillance with us, and discusses why wildlife health and disease monitoring is such an important (but complex) undertaking.