Non-native Wildlife Disease: Prevention, Rapid Response, and Containment

October 15, 2015 1:00 pm — 3:00 pm

Introduction of non-native wildlife diseases threatens terrestrial and marine species and ecosystems and the economy. For example, MSX and Dermo have decimated the east coast oyster industry—undermining shoreline protection in the process. On land, white-nose syndrome—a fungal infection—is killing millions of bats in North America, and the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has had global-scale impacts. And diseases such as highly pathogenic avian influenza demand a response to protect both human and animal health.

Government agencies have limited tools to respond to new diseases, and effective policy responses can be slow in coming. As a result, it is difficult to prevent newly-discovered diseases from entering the US. For example, nearly a year ago, scientists identified a new fungus—Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal)—that is killing salamanders in Europe and has been shown to be lethal to North American salamanders. While thousands of potentially infected salamanders are imported into the US each year, but no mandatory import restrictions are yet in place to ensure that North America remains Bsal-free.

Limited authorities to manage wildlife diseases in the US are part of the problem—for example, the limited response to sea star wasting disease has prompted legislators to introduce a bill to strengthen NOAA’s wildlife disease authority, and efforts are underway to enhance wildlife disease authority more broadly.

This webinar will present case studies to illustrate challenges in managing non-native wildlife diseases and opportunities for strengthening current approaches in both the terrestrial and marine contexts.






  • Read Porter, Director, Invasive Species Program, Environmental Law Institute


Webinar Slides

Background Materials

This webinar is made possible by the generous support of the Turner Foundation.