AHEAD Update – October / November / December 2015

*Welcome to the fourth AHEAD Update of 2015. Please note that URL hotlinks for many of the organizations mentioned below can be found at http://www.wcs-ahead.org/links.html. If you would like to post an item in the next AHEAD Update, please just send it to us – thanks.


*New book – One Health: The Theory and Practice of Integrated Health Approaches (2015), Zinsstag J, Schelling E, Whittaker M, Tanner M and Waltner-Toews D (eds), CAB International, Oxfordshire, UK, 468 pp. – The One Health (OH) concept of combined veterinary and human health continues to gain momentum, but the supporting literature is still developing. In this book, the origins of the concept are examined and practical content on methodological tools, data gathering, monitoring techniques, study designs, and mathematical models is included. Zoonotic diseases, with discussions of diseases of wildlife, farm animals, domestic pets and humans, and issues such as sanitation, economics, food security and evaluating the success of vaccination programmes are covered in detail. One Health also discusses approaches to putting OH policy into practice. Of particular relevance to AHEAD Update readers are two AHEAD-generated chapters: (i) “One Health: An Ecological and Conservation Perspective” authored by DHM Cumming and GS Cumming, and (ii) “Beyond Fences: Wildlife, Livestock and Land Use in Southern Africa” authored by DHM Cumming, S Osofsky, SJ Atkinson and MW Atkinson. For more information, see: http://www.cabi.org/bookshop/book/9781780643410.

*New paper – Collapse of the World’s Largest Herbivores (2015), Ripple WJ, Newsome TM, Wolf C, Dirzo R, Everatt KT, Galetti M, Hayward MW, Kerley GIH, Levi T, Lindsey PA, Macdonald DW, Malhi Y, Painter LE, Sandom CJ, Terborgh J and Van Valkenburgh B. Science Advances, 1(4). doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1400103 – Large wild herbivores are crucial to ecosystems and human societies. We highlight the 74 largest terrestrial herbivore species on Earth (body mass ≥100 kg), the threats they face, their important and often overlooked ecosystem effects, and the conservation efforts needed to save them and their predators from extinction. Large herbivores are generally facing dramatic population declines and range contractions, such that ~60% are threatened with extinction. Nearly all threatened species are in developing countries, where major threats include hunting, land-use change, and resource depression by livestock. Loss of large herbivores can have cascading effects on other species including large carnivores, scavengers, mesoherbivores, small mammals, and ecological processes involving vegetation, hydrology, nutrient cycling, and fire regimes. The rate of large herbivore decline suggests that ever-larger swaths of the world will soon lack many of the vital ecological services these animals provide, resulting in enormous ecological and social costs. To access the full paper, see http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/1/4/e1400103.full.

*New paper – Need for Enhanced Environmental Representation in the Implementation of One Health (2015), Barrett MA and Bouley TA. EcoHealth, 12 (2): 212-219. doi: 10.1007/s10393-014-0964-5 – Issues of global environmental change, global health, emerging disease, and sustainability present some of the most complex challenges of the twenty-first century. Individual disciplines cannot address these issues in isolation. Proactive, innovative, and trans-disciplinary solutions are required. Recognizing the inherent connectedness of humans, animals, plants, and their shared environment, One Health encourages the collaboration of many disciplines—including human and veterinary medicine, public health, social science, public policy, environmental science, and others—to address global and local health challenges. Despite great progress in this shift toward transdisciplinarity, the environmental component of the One Health paradigm remains underrepresented in One Health discourse. Human and animal health issues are commonly discussed under the umbrella of the One Health paradigm, while upstream environmental drivers and solutions are less prominent. We assessed the current integration of environmental issues in One Health publications and leadership. There is room for enhanced integration of environmental knowledge in the implementation of One Health approaches. We discuss the potential benefits from the collaboration between One Health and ecohealth, and explore strategies for increased environmental involvement. For more information, see http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10393-014-0964-5.

*New paper – Eradication of Transboundary Animal Diseases: Can the Rinderpest Success Story be Repeated? (2015), Thomson GR, Fosgate GT and Penrith ML. Transboundary and Emerging Diseases. doi: 10.1111/tbed.12385 – A matrix system was developed to aid in the evaluation of the technical amenability to eradication, through mass vaccination, of transboundary animal diseases (TADs). The system involved evaluation of three basic criteria – disease management efficiency, surveillance and epidemiological factors – each in turn comprised of a number of elements (17 in all). On that basis, 25 TADs that have occurred or do occur in southern Africa and for which vaccines are available, in addition to rinderpest (incorporated as a yardstick because it has been eradicated worldwide), were ranked. Cluster analysis was also applied using the same criteria to the 26 diseases, creating division into three groups. One cluster contained only diseases transmitted by arthropods [e.g. African horse sickness and Rift Valley fever] and considered difficult to eradicate because technologies for managing parasitic arthropods on a large scale are unavailable, while a second cluster contained diseases that have been widely considered to be eradicable [rinderpest, canine rabies, the Eurasian serotypes of foot and mouth disease virus (O, A, C & Asia 1) and peste des petits ruminants] as well as classical swine fever, Newcastle disease and lumpy skin disease. The third cluster contained all the other TADs evaluated with the implication that these constitute TADs that would be more difficult to eradicate. However, it is acknowledged that the scores assigned in the course of this study may be biased. The point is that the system proposed offers an objective method for assessment of the technical eradicability of TADs; the rankings and groupings derived during this study are less important than the provision of a systematic approach for further development and evaluation. For more information, see http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/tbed.12385/abstract.

*New paper – Global Trends in Infectious Diseases at the Wildlife-Livestock Interface (2015), Wiethoelter AK, Beltran-Alcrudo D, Kock R and Mor SM. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112 (31): 9662-9667 – The role and significance of wildlife-livestock interfaces in disease ecology has largely been neglected, despite recent interest in animals as origins of emerging diseases in humans. Scoping review methods were applied to objectively assess the relative interest by the scientific community in infectious diseases at interfaces between wildlife and livestock, to characterize animal species and regions involved, as well as to identify trends over time. An extensive literature search combining wildlife, livestock, disease, and geographical search terms yielded 78,861 publications, of which 15,998 were included in the analysis. Publications dated from 1912 to 2013 and showed a continuous increasing trend, including a shift from parasitic to viral diseases over time. In particular there was a significant increase in publications on the artiodactyls-cattle and bird-poultry interface after 2002 and 2003, respectively. These trends could be traced to key disease events that stimulated public interest and research funding. Among the top 10 diseases identified by this review, the majority were zoonoses. Prominent wildlife-livestock interfaces resulted largely from interaction between phylogenetically closely related and/or sympatric species. The bird-poultry interface was the most frequently cited wildlife-livestock interface worldwide with other interfaces reflecting regional circumstances. For more information, see http://www.pnas.org/content/112/31/9662.


*2015 Symposium of Contemporary Conservation Practice, Howick, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, November 2 – 6, 2015 – This symposium offers a platform for the conservation community to share and explore issues and recent developments in the science and practice of conservation, and in understanding and communicating the value of biodiversity to society. It seeks to identify solutions to critical issues and to impact policy in order to enhance conservation efforts – in Africa and beyond. It also aims to promote partnerships between government agencies, conservation authorities, non-governmental organizations, legal practitioners, communicators and other relevant professionals and stakeholders, to address the contemporary conservation challenges of our world. Registration is open now. For more information, see http://symposium.kznwildlife.com/.

*“One Health in the Real World: Zoonoses, Ecosystems and Wellbeing” Symposium, London, England, March 17 – 18, 2016 – This high-level symposium, co-organized by the Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa Consortium and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) in partnership with the Royal Society will bring together leading experts from different fields to discuss the topic “Healthy ecosystems, healthy people.” Specifically, experts will be asked to:
   • Present new interdisciplinary frameworks for a real-world One Health approach
   • Highlight evidence from field-based settings in Africa (including those in Ghana, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Zambia and Zimbabwe) and beyond
   • Debate implications for policy and practice.
Proposals for poster presentations are now being accepted, with a deadline of February 12, 2016. For more information, see http://www.zsl.org/science/whats-on/one-health-for-the-real-world-zoonoses-ecosystems-and-wellbeing.


*Cambridge Masters in Conservation Leadership Call for Applications – The Cambridge Masters in Conservation Leadership is now accepting applications for October 2016 entry. The course is a full-time, one year Masters, aimed at graduates of leadership potential with at least 3-5 years of experience relevant to biodiversity conservation. As in previous years, there is considerable scholarship funding available. Competitive scholarships are available to anyone with outstanding conservation leadership potential who is not able to fund their studies from other sources. Priority is given when allocating scholarships to students from countries rich in biodiversity but poor in financial resources. Applications for October 2016 entry and scholarships must be received by December 2, 2015. Applicants are also encouraged to seek scholarship support from other sources. For more details, see http://www.geog.cam.ac.uk/graduate/mphil/conservation/.

*STEPS Centre Invites Applications for 2016 Summer School – Applications are invited from highly-motivated doctoral and postdoctoral researchers working in fields around development studies, science and technology studies, innovation and policy studies, and across agricultural, health, water or energy issues. Participants will explore the theme of ‘pathways to sustainability’ through a mixture of workshops, lectures, outdoor events and focused interaction with STEPS Centre members. The Summer School takes place 16-27 May on the Sussex University campus, near Brighton, UK. The deadline for applications is 27 January 2016 at 5pm GMT. There is a fee to attend, but scholarships are available. For details on how to apply, financial support mechanisms, additional programme information, and materials from last year’s session, visit the STEPS website at http://steps-centre.org/engagement/steps-summer-school/.

Again, if you have items for the next AHEAD Update, please just let us know– thanks.

"What is AHEAD?" Animal & Human Health for the Environment And Development was launched at the 2003 IUCN World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa. By assembling a ‘dream team’ of veterinarians, ecologists, biologists, social and economic scientists, agriculturists, wildlife managers, public health specialists and others from across East and southern Africa, the Wildlife Conservation Society, IUCN, and a range of partners tapped into some of the most innovative conservation and development thinking on the African continent- and AHEAD was born. Since then, a range of programs addressing conservation, health, and concomitant development challenges have been launched with the support of a growing list of implementing partners and donors who see the intrinsic value of what WCS has called the “One World, One Health” approach. AHEAD is a convening, facilitative mechanism, working to create enabling environments that allow different and often competing sectors to literally come to the same table and find collaborative ways forward to address challenges at the interface of wildlife health, livestock health, and human health and livelihoods. We convene stakeholders, help delineate conceptual frameworks to underpin planning, management and research, and provide technical support and resources for projects stakeholders identify as priorities. AHEAD recognizes the need to look at health and disease not in isolation but within a given region's environmental and socioeconomic context.


Steve & Shirley