The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
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Wildlife health and conservation experts address COP event

Insights into health in migratory species presented to delegates at international convention.

Factors that are conservation threats to wild animals, such as habitat loss and degradation, are also driving disease emergence in wildlife around the world, experts will tell an international event. 

Researchers including specialists from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies (R(D)SVS) will present a report on health in migratory species to delegates of the 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS COP14), in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. 

The Dick Vet team consulted a large group of wildlife experts for their report, which captures risks to the health of a range of migratory wildlife species around the world, associated risks to domestic animals and humans, and recommendations to mitigate these risks. 

Expert consultation 

Findings from the report will be presented and discussed at a joint R(D)SVS and CMS side event at the COP entitled 'Disrupted planet, disrupted health'.  

Also, a draft decision submitted to the COP for adoption encourages CMS Parties to implement the recommendations of the report as part of a COP document on Wildlife Disease and Migratory Species. 

An expert consultation carried out for the report found the biggest drivers of disease issues to be habitat loss, degradation or disturbance, together with climate change and food production. 

It highlights infectious disease as a key conservation issue in the majority of species groups, especially in bird and mammal species.  

The consultation also flagged some common challenges associated with the detection and understanding of disease processes in migratory wild animals, including a lack of knowledge about infectious agents and diseases of many migratory species groups.  

It also underscored the potential for currently unknown or unrecognised pathogens to become a future threat.  

Action steps 

Recommendations include tackling key drivers of disease emergence, improving preparedness, planning and response, and improving monitoring, reporting and information-sharing on wildlife health. 

Presenting our insights to audiences at COP14 is a valuable opportunity to contribute to the conversations around how best to manage the health of migratory species, and how One Health can be a supportive framework in which to shape and deliver solutions.

Dr Katie BeckmannLecturer in Wildlife Health & Conservation Medicine


This report, by a world leading team of wildlife health specialists led by the University of Edinburgh, contributes to the growing body of work which highlights the needs for interdisciplinary action to protect the health of us all.   

It takes the perspective of the wider environment and of the species within, helping to rebalance and improve our thinking about One Health.   

The report is a seminal contribution to the work of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) on the issue of wildlife health. 

Professor Colin GalbraithAppointed Councillor on Climate Change to the Convention on Migratory Species and Chair of NatureScot

The 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP14) takes place in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, from 12 to 17 February. 

Related links 

The Migratory Species and Health: a review of migration and wildlife disease dynamics, and the health of migratory species, within the context of One Health 

About the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies is a one-of-a-kind centre of excellence in clinical activity, teaching and research. Our purpose-built campus, set against the backdrop of the beautiful Pentland Hills Regional Park, is home to more than 800 staff and almost 1400 students, all of whom contribute to our exceptional community ethos.

The School comprises:

The Roslin Institute

The Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems

The Roslin Innovation Centre

The Hospital for Small Animals

Equine Veterinary Services

Farm Animal Services

Easter Bush Pathology

The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education

We represent the largest concentration of animal science-related expertise in Europe, impacting local, regional, national and international communities in terms of economic growth, the provision of clinical services and the advancement of scientific knowledge.

Image credit: Pieter Van Noorden / Unsplash