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Wildlife disease surveillance

If you have found a mass mortality of wildlife (2 or more dead animals together), nervous disease in wildlife or unusual deaths in wildlife, please contact the WEG veterinary lead or your nearest APHA Veterinary Investigation Centre: VIC Bury St Edmunds, VIC Carmarthen, VIC Penrith, VIC Shrewsbury, VIC Starcross, VIC Thirsk.

Please note: if you suspect a notifiable disease you must contact APHA immediately.

Wildlife Expert Group (WEG) veterinary co-leads

Samantha Holland (BSc BVMS MVetSci PhD MRCVS) has been the WEG veterinary lead since November 2023. She co-leads the DEFRA funded diseases of wildlife scanning surveillance scheme (DoWS) in APHA with Jenny Cantlay. Sam has previously worked in APHA as a field based veterinary investigator, a veterinary advisor in exotic notifiable disease, and most recently as the Veterinary Head of Exotics and Welfare. She has a master’s degree in conservation medicine and volunteers for both Cetacean Stranding Investigations Programme and British Divers Marine Life Rescue.

Image of Jenny Cantlay

Jenny Cantlay (BVMS MVetSci MRCVS) has been the WEG veterinary lead since January 2024. Jenny has a master’s degree in conservation medicine, conducted doctoral research in avian ecology and most recently worked at University of Surrey on the One Health European Joint Programme (OHEJP) as their Communications Officer.


Better understanding of wildlife diseases is essential for improving animal health, human health and ecosystem health under a One Health approach. Interactions between wildlife, domestic animals and humans in varied environments can influence disease dynamics and transmission among different species. Some diseases occurring in wildlife species pose not only animal health and welfare issues, but also potential public health risks for those infectious agents that can cross from wildlife to humans - known as zoonotic diseases.

The WEG works collaboratively to gather, analyse, and share information on wild animal health surveillance. Potential threats in a wide range of wildlife species are covered, across mammals (except cetaceans), birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

APHA Diseases of Wildlife Scheme (APHA DoWS)

The APHA DoWS has delivered national surveillance for wildlife disease in England and Wales to government since 1998.

The Scheme examines vertebrate wild species for all disease and mortality investigations, including infectious and non-infectious disease. In 2009, surveillance for vertebrate (apart from cetaceans) wildlife disease in GB became the responsibility of the Great Britain Wildlife Disease Surveillance Partnership, under the Chair of the APHA DoWS.

The GB Wildlife Health Partnership involves:

APHA Animal Disease Surveillance Reports

Recent Interesting Cases

GB wildlife disease quarterly report: disease surveillance and emerging threats – July to December 2022

  • Atypical histiocytosis diagnosed in a red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) in Cumbria.
  • Sowerby’s beaked whale strandings investigated by the Institute of Zoology.

Disease Information

Information notes and alerts on specific diseases or conditions: