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Wildlife Health

Identify What to Do if You:

A fawn sitting in the woods
This fawn may appear abandoned,
but chances are its mother is
nearby. Fawns lack a scent that
adults have and that predators
can smell; therefore, adult females
will often keep some distance until
the fawn can walk and run better.

Managing and Diagnosing Wildlife Disease

New York State Wildlife Health Program

DEC's New York State Wildlife Health Program is a partnership with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine Animal Health Diagnostic Center (AHDC).

The goal of the program is to:

  • identify and monitor both infectious and non‐infectious diseases in wildlife populations
  • put that information to use in making sound management decisions
  • intervene when necessary to ensure that New York has sustainable, robust and diverse wildlife populations for the future

The Wildlife Health Program Strategic Plan 2011-2015 (PDF, 1.7 MB) outlines the program initiatives, grounded in the "One Health" concept that identifies wildlife, domestic animal, and human health as closely interwoven.

The initial phase of the program will focus on:

  • developing coordinated wildlife disease diagnosis and monitoring
  • risk assessments and design of surveillance systems for diseases of concern
  • staff support and training
  • communication building with other state and federal partners
  • collaborative research efforts

Wildlife Health Unit at the Wildlife Resources Center

DEC's Wildlife Health Unit (WHU) at the Wildlife Resources Center is a part of the Wildlife Health Program that is responsible for handling deceased animals for examining, diagnosing, monitoring and (when needed) controlling the causes of sickness and death in New York State's amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.

Other duties of the WHU include:

  • providing forensic wildlife pathology services to DEC's law enforcement and other agencies
  • performing field investigations related to the impact of environmental contamination (e.g. oil spills, industrial discharges, pesticide use and misuse, hazardous waste sites, and landfills) on wildlife
  • conducting original research in the fields of wildlife pathology, physiology, and toxicology

The WHU at the Wildlife Resources Center is located at 108 Game Farm Road, Delmar, NY, 12054
Telephone: (518) 478-2203

More about Wildlife Health:

  • Reporting Dead Wildlife - Find out how to report, handle and submit dead animals to DEC's Wildlife Health Unit at the Wildlife Resources Center.
  • Wildlife Rehabilitators - For help with an injured wild animal, find a wildlife rehabilitator near you.
  • Animal Diseases - There are many different types of diseases that can affect the wildlife in New York State.
  • Feeding Wildlife - Learn about the negative impacts that occur when we feed wildlife.
  • Care of Young Wildlife - Information which is intended to help you decide when young wildlife need help and when to leave them alone.