EMRC and ‘Healthy Wildlife, Healthy Lives’

– A One Health Project

The Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council (EMRC) is a regional local government working on behalf of six member councils located in Perth’s Eastern Region. The EMRC aims to be a responsive and innovative leader in assisting Perth’s Eastern Region to be a great place to live, work, play and do business. The region has significant environmental assets that require protection and optimal management.

Perth’s Eastern Region is unique and relies largely on the commitment of local communities to protect and enhance the quality of their natural environment. There is a large, active and diverse community network in the region which comprises over 130 friends of groups and five catchment groups. In total there are over 1,700 volunteers contributing 30,000 volunteer hours each year toward environmental projects. Many community volunteers also work at local wildlife rehabilitation centres dedicated to wildlife conservation, including Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and Native Animal Rescue. The level of community participation for these environmental activities is amongst the highest in Australia.

The EMRC is partnering with Murdoch University on the ‘Healthy Wildlife, Healthy Lives’ – A One Health Project, supported by Lotterywest. The global ‘One Health’ initiative recognises that the health of humans, animals and ecosystems are inextricably linked. There is a need to promote, improve and defend the health and well-being of all species. The main focus of ‘One Health’ globally has been on the transfer of diseases from animals to humans and the public health consequences. The Healthy Wildlife project focuses on the reverse – the transfer of diseases from humans to animals and the wildlife health and conservation consequences.

Perth’s Eastern Region was chosen to pilot the ‘Healthy Wildlife, Healthy Lives’ – A One Health Project because:

  • The region represents urban, peri-urban and rural communities in close proximity to Perth.
  • The level of interaction with wildlife was perceived to be higher in this region, with greater risk to wildlife health and conservation and greater potential to generate more community empathy for wildlife.
  • There is a broader base of known wildlife populations and species.
  • The project will benefit from EMRC’s existing knowledge and involvement with community engagement, communication and education.

The above approach will broaden the potential relevance, credibility and applicability of the ‘Healthy Wildlife, Healthy Lives’ – A One Health Project beyond the region so that the outcomes of the pilot will benefit other communities and enhance the overall sustainability and community value of the project.