Health risk assessment of the translocation of wild animals

F A Leighton
2002 Rev Sci Tech Off Int Epizoot  
Potential health risks are always associated with the translocation of wild animals. A formal assessment of these health risks should be conducted in advance of each translocation, and the results of the risk assessment should be incorporated into decisions as to whether or not the translocation should occur or whether changes in the translocation protocol could substantially reduce health risks inherent in the translocation. Credible health risk assessments can be performed by individuals
more » ... ut extensive previous experience, given the necessary background in animal health and wildlife biology and access to sufficient valid information. Assessment of health risks should not be performed or influenced by those who will use the results to make decisions or those with vested interests in a particular outcome. The assessment process itself must be transparent, and the final risk assessment report must clearly present each step taken, all available information and all reasoning. Health risk assessment is a rigorous application of common sense to evaluate whether or not important health-related risks are associated with a proposed activity. The level of health risk inherent in a planned translocation is determined by identifying the full range of possible health hazards that might be associated with that translocation, identifying from among these a subset of potential hazards that require complete assessment, and for each hazard thus selected, evaluating the probability that the hazardous event will occur and the magnitude of negative consequences if it does occur. The combination of probability of occurrence and magnitude of consequences constitutes the risk posed by a potential health hazard, and the combined risk for each assessed health hazard constitutes the overall health risk estimate for the translocation. A valid numerical (quantitative) health risk assessment for wild animals is rarely possible because the available information on which the assessment must be based is too approximate and imprecise. Qualitative health risk assessments for wild animal translocations are usually of equal or greater value than numerical assessments and can be of enormous importance to wildlife conservation, domestic animal health and public health.
pmid:11974629 fatcat:hojdzzzb4ndujff3xdympyl2eq