Save the Wildlife
1) By creating online tools that help standardize how wildlife rehabilitators collect critical data about their patients, they can better understand what protocols and policies are working and where improvement needs to be made. This will help wildlife rehabilitators improve their standard of care and help save tens of thousands of more lives.
2) This unique wildlife data can be viewed in an aggregate form. By looking at only admission and syndromic data, wildlife professionals can establish baseline trends so that when there are abnormalities in the data occur they can be investigated in a timely fashion. If these investigations come up positive for a wildlife disease or death events it will alert officials to take quick appropriate action to the threat. These events can be red-flag indicators of ecological disturbance, wild animals are critical components of early warning systems for ecosystem-wide threats including local pollution, climate change, and emerging infectious wildlife diseases. Further, there is growing evidence of the negative impacts that increasing wildlife emerging infectious wildlife diseases (e.g., amphibian chytridiomycosis, avian malaria, white nose syndrome) and climate change have on threatened and endangered wildlife populations.
Save the People
1) Wildlife rehabilitators need to allocate their time and resources efficiently and effectively, because there is never enough. As wildlife rehabilitators ourselves, we set out to make VERY easy online tools that anybody could use. Everybody from the granny in her garage to the largest wildlife rehabilitation organizations in the world use our database systems. If we can help rehabilitators collect their data as easy and painlessly as possible, we will do the hard work of figuring out what to do with the data long term. We want to make sure that wildlife rehabilitators can record their data without it being a hardship or a drain.
2) Wildlife health is the often overlooked “canary in the coal mine” for our planet. Negative and frequent environmental impacts, ranging from deforestation to hurricane flooding, are known to increase the incidence and spread of a broad range of wildlife diseases. Many of these diseases not only kill countless wild animals, impacting natural ecosystems, but contaminate domestic livestock, sometimes resulting in the decimation of whole economic sectors. They also cause direct and indirect human suffering locally, nationally and worldwide, from widespread hunger to devastating loss of life. Ultimately, if we harness the networked power of the well-established, expanding “on the ground” WRMD data set, we could save millions of human, livestock and wild animal lives by rapidly setting off alarms when abnormalities in the data first appear.
Save the Data
1) A wealth of information and knowledge in the wildlife rehabilitation community—both wildlife care data and “institutional memory”—is at risk of being lost. The Wild Neighbors Database Project’s purpose is to provide effective and accessible tools that can be used by any wildlife rehabilitation institution to document, archive and share knowledge. Ultimately, the result is to save more lives by knowing what works and what doesn’t work. The tools we create help to validate our work, and we need that in order to advance our cause.
2) With over 1.5 million records in 46 U.S. states and 18 countries we are established. With this data in aggregate we can already identify baseline trends and the data is continually growing. By using advanced neural network machine learning we can use this information to more quickly and decisively identify wildlife health events before it is too late, help change policies and legislation to better support wildlife and help to conserve as much of our precious ecosystems as we can.