Wildlife Health Specialist Group


Commissioned by the IUCN Species Survival Commission to serve as a first response for wildlife health concerns across the world.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa

Taking blood samples from Kudu

WHSG Regional Coordinator for Sub-Saharan Africa: Dr. Thomas Nyariki

Dr. Nyariki is a Kenyan wildlife veterinarian with specialized training in pathology and diagnostics (PhD level). He worked with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) for 12 years (1996-2008) during which time he gained futher experience in wildlife disease investigation (primarily mammalian and avian taxa), wildlife capture, translocations and related interventions. He trained in Ecosystem Health through the Envirovet Summer Institute Course (USA) in 2000. Since 2008, Dr. Nyariki has worked as a Wildlife Expert for the African Union's InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), providing technical support and coordinating continental and regional wildlife and ecosystem health interventions aimed at achieving the organizations mandate of developing animal resources in Africa. Additionally, he has facilitated training of officials from public institutions of the AU Member States on One Health concepts, wildlife disease surveillance and other topics related to wildlife health.

These are the central Wildlife Health Challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa that have been identified by Dr. Nyariki:

• Conflicts at the wildlife-livestock-human interface
• Unsustainable use of wildlife resources
• Lack of policy frameworks on the integration of wildlife and mainstream agricultural production systems
• Limited integration of wildlife health in the design of cost-effective and technically sound animal disease control measures
• No mainstreaming of ecosystem approaches in intra- and inter-regional cooperation agendas on trans-boundary animal diseases (TADs) and zoonoses
• Weak collaboration among wildlife stakeholders (global regional, national, private and public) in order to ensure effective synergies in the control of TADs and zoonoses, in shared ecosystems
• Limited use of existing wildlife knowledge and slow generation of new data in order to develop systems for anticipating, preventing and controlling animal diseases and zoonoses.
• Weak representation of wildlife and other ecosystem aspects in continental platforms in the context of ‘One Health’ (OH) in order to address effectively the issue of zoonotic diseases
• Limited integration of wildlife health in veterinary and public health services and to ensure that wildlife departments play an effective role in addressing TADs and zoonoses in shared ecosystems
• Weak monitoring of trade related movements of wild animals (recreational, ornamental) and their products (human consumption, ornamental, fashion, etc.) as a possible source of animal diseases, zoonoses and food borne diseases
• Weak Local and transboundary cooperation in the interface
• Limited information and knowledge in optimum management of the wildlife-livestock-human interface
• Lack of coordinated sharing of information and knowledge on the interface, especially in transboundary situations