Wildlife Health

Research has shown that approximately 75% of the diseases which affect humans are sourced from animals, and of these, 72% are sourced from wild species. Human encroachment in to traditional habitats of wildlife and the increase in wildlife farming practices for the bush meat and pet trade provides an opportunity for the transmission of disease from wild species to humans.

A major concern with the illegal wildlife trade in Viet Nam is the impact that farming and transporting wildlife has on human and domestic animal health. Ensuring a high level of public health in Viet Nam is a key priority for the Vietnamese Government and therefore the risk of disease transmission is a strong argument against the illegal wildlife trade.

Often wildlife farms do not have the same standard of animal health processes in place that a livestock farm may have. If species are also illegally traded in Viet Nam, it is highly unlikely that the health status of the animal has been verified and therefore could lead to the introduction of any number of diseases. 

Key Work:

PCR testing samples  - 2017
  • WCS Viet Nam  work with governmental partners to develop national strategy documents or standard operating procedures (SOPs) needed to operationalize a wildlife health surveillance system;

  • Evaluate Viet Nam’s current animal health surveillance/management system to identify opportunities to include a wildlife component, especially at high-risk wildlife-human interfaces;

  • Explore practical and sustainable mechanisms to form a network of partners contributing to health surveillance in wildlife in Viet Nam;

  • Conduct wildlife disease surveillance for selected EDP agents of national concern, specifically to survey for selected EDP disease agents, Rickettsia prowazekii, Yersinia pestis, Nipah virus, Hendra virus, African swine fever virus, Avian influenza virus, and Foot-and-mouth disease virus;

  • Provide related training to laboratory staff, wildlife managers, veterinarians, and other local entities in collaboration with Viet Nam national agencies and institutions, and international organizations.

WCS staff in Viet Nam collected oral swabs from a juvenile Sunda pangolin confiscated
from the illegal wildlife trade, February 2017


Jones, K. E., Patel, N. G., Levy, M. A., Storeygard, A., Balk, D., Gittleman, J. L., & Daszak, P. (2008). Global trends in emerging infectious diseases (Vol. 451). doi:10.1038/nature06536