ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Society and science: a new approach to wildlife disease surveillance (2020- 2023)


NSW Environment Trust, $200,000

Investigators/ researchers

Associate Professor Andrew Peters,  Dr Helen Masterman-Smith, Dr John Rafferty

Research Theme(s)

Biodiversity Conservation

Rural and Regional Communities


Wildlife diseases are of significance to conservation, agriculture and human health. Effective surveillance for wildlife disease is recognised as instrumental to its management and mitigation. Australia’s wildlife health system underpins its biosecurity and trade but is resource intensive, has considerable gaps in taxonomic and spatiotemporal coverage, and is of limited utility to many stakeholders including conservation entities and the public.

For this multi-disciplinary project (wildlife health, sociology and environmental education) the researchers are undertaking a completely novel approach to developing a model wildlife health surveillance system in the Riverina, NSW. Whereas most current wildlife health surveillance is focused entirely on government and national needs with the public occasionally co-opted to provide data, this pilot study will instead explore how a wildlife health surveillance system can serve the public.

The researchers will initially create knowledge about the perceptions and values of wildlife health biosecurity, the needs and potential uses of wildlife health surveillance, and the capacity to contribute to wildlife health surveillance in an unprecedented diversity of stakeholders (including community groups).

This knowledge will be used to design, build and test an innovative new wildlife health surveillance system.


The expected outcome of this project is a new innovative wildlife health surveillance system involving conservation entities and the public that will contribute to more effective surveillance of wildlife health disease in Australia.


Associate Professor Andrew Peters

Wagga Wagga campus


August 2020