Swedish Environmental Protection Agency
2021 - 2023
Field of research
Who sends fallen wildlife to SVA for examination and why? Investigating the factors affecting submission of carcasses and samples to better inform wildlife management.
Foto: Erik Ågren
Healthy wildlife populations are integral to biodiversity and they provide valuable ecosystem services. Diseases in wildlife can have significant ecological, social and economic consequences, threaten the health of domestic animals and humans, and therefore can dramatically impact management. Comprehensive wildlife disease surveillance programs with geographic and species coverage that align with wildlife health priorities are important for informing management. Sweden’s wildlife disease surveillance program at the National Veterinary Institute SVA is based on general surveillance, i.e. the pathological examination of sick or dead wildlife. The data generated from the program rely on voluntary reporting and submission of carcasses and samples from the field by stakeholders and the public. However, the samples received by SVA, the factors that affect the submission of these samples, and the people who submit them are poorly understood. This cross-disciplinary project aims to fill these knowledge gaps to be able to further align the program with wildlife health priorities and better inform wildlife management.
Through three inter-linked studies including descriptive data analysis, geographic modelling,questionnaire and interviews, we will investigate:
1) what the past 10 years of wildlife disease surveillance data represent
2) which factors facilitate or hinder whether a reported carcass is submitted
3) who reports and submits samples
4) what is the intrinsic motivation to voluntarily report and submit carcasses and what obstaclesdo those who participate perceive?
These results will help understand the data generated from the surveillance program and how it can be applied. By identifying factors that affect submission of samples and understanding the demographics and intrinsic motivation of those voluntarily submitting samples, we will have the tools to remove obstacles, facilitate submission and help increase engagement for a more comprehensive surveillance program.