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 Vietnam is the impact that farming and transporting wildlife has on human and domestic animal health. Ensuring a high level of public health in Vietnam 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 Vietnam 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.
● WCS has been working on the PREDICT project since 2011. WCS works alongside US Aid, the Vietnamese Department of Animal Health, the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Vietnam National University of Agriculture.
● WCS has veterinarians who regularly conduct disease testing on wildlife and domestic populations (livestock and pets) which is subsequently compared to human disease testing from the same regions.
● The project has enabled Vietnam to form global relationships and partnerships such as through the World Organisation for Animal Health Global Conference on Wildlife.
● We have trained over 150 field health officers in areas such as safe animal capture and handling, sample collection and storage, biosafety and the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This training will enable ongoing surveillance of a great number of wildlife farms to gather a better data source.
● The project has also performed capacity building with local laboratories to establish key laboratory capacity for virus detection at two labs in Vietnam.
● WCS Veterinarians also provide support local conservation centres by providing veterinary care for rescued wildlife.
Treating/testing pangolins at the Save Vietnam’s wildlife facility in Cuc Phuong national park - 2017