The danger posed by wildlife diseases is real and intensifying, and with new threats on the horizon we need to take action now to protect wildlife.
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Wildlife is under threat like never before
Wildlife is already under massive pressure from habitat loss, climate change, pollution, invasive species and over-exploitation, and wildlife disease is adding to this global nature emergency.
Here in the UK, 21 out of 25 of our breeding seabird species have been affected by Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (Avian Flu), including Kittiwakes, Guillemots and terns. The disease has already killed 30,000 Black-headed Gulls and scavenging species like White-tailed Eagles, Otters and seals have been infected too.
You may also have seen unwell birds like Greenfinches and Chaffinches in your garden. Their numbers are being devastated by a parasitic disease called Trichomonosis, making it vital to clean bird feeders and baths regularly. Usutu disease is now on the horizon too, having caused Blackbird declines in Europe.
Our three-point plan to tackle wildlife disease
The delicate balance between all living things, including people, is becoming unstable meaning that activities like intensive farming, and our increasingly warm and wet climate, are encouraging new diseases to emerge and spread.
With nature already in crisis, we can’t afford to ignore the growing threat from wildlife disease. That’s why we’re launching our pioneering new Wildlife Disease Fund.
With your support, we can tackle wildlife disease in three key ways.
1. Help scientists understand disease through research
We urgently need to better understand wildlife diseases. With your help, the RSPB and our research partners can investigate the biology, behaviour and impacts of diseases and develop solutions to limit their spread.
2. Influence policies affecting wildlife
We can use this scientific knowledge to press governments for immediate measures to tackle Avian Flu in wild birds, as well as decisive strategies to reduce the impacts of other wildlife diseases in future.
3. Take conservation action against disease
You can help our field teams work quickly to monitor the impacts of wildlife diseases and support their work to test and roll out conservation actions to limit those impacts, giving vulnerable species a better chance of recovery.