Historic Incident Reports

Every three months information submitted to the national electronic Wildlife Health Information System (eWHIS) is collated and submitted by WHA to a quarterly publication called Animal Health Surveillance Quarterly (AHSQ), which is produced by Animal Health Australia as part of Australia's national animal health information program. AHSQ contains a section on the main wildlife disease incidents that have occurred around the country for that quarter. Follow the link to read and search publications in the Animal Health Australia AHSQ Library New window icon or select a WHA report below.

WHA report - Apr-Jun 2018 - AHSQ 23(2)

WHA report - Jan-Mar 2018 - AHSQ 23(1)

WHA report - Oct-Dec 2017 - AHSQ 22(4)

WHA report - Jul-Sep 2017 - AHSQ 22(3)

WHA report - Apr-Jun 2017 - AHSQ 22(2)

WHA report - Jan-Mar 2017 - AHSQ 22(1)

WHA report - Oct-Dec 2016 - AHSQ 21(4)

WHA report - Jul-Sep 2016 - AHSQ 21(3)

WHA report - Apr-Jun 2016 - AHSQ 21(2)

WHA report - Jan-Mar 2016 - AHSQ 21(1)

WHA report - Oct-Dec 2015 - AHSQ 20(4)

WHA report - Jul-Sep 2015 - AHSQ 20(3)

WHA report - Apr-Jun 2015 - AHSQ 20(2)

WHA report - Jan-Mar 2015 - AHSQ 20(1)

Historic Incidents

For information on health incidents involving wildlife in your state or territory contact your WHA Coordinator

Shearwater Mortalities

Image Courtesy of A Silcocks


In October 2013, dead shearwaters (Puffinus spp.) were washing up along beaches and coastlines from Queensland to South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.   The majority of the birds were short-tailed shearwater (Puffinus tenuirostris).  Short-tailed shearwaters are a widespread, abundant seabird species, with a worldwide population in excess of 18 million animals. They spend approximately six months in Australia nesting and breeding before returning to their wintering grounds in the northern hemisphere in April.  A number of other shearwater species were also been reported washed up on beaches, including: wedge-tailed (P. pacificus), fluttering (P. gavia) and flesh-footed (P. carneipes).

The conclusion was that this is a ‘natural but unfortunate event1,2,3,4, with birds having died from exhaustion and starvation, following their long annual migration from the northern hemisphere to nesting areas in the southern hemisphere. Birds are often in poor condition and have limited energy reserves, having travelled over 15,000km. Die-offs occur annually, however this year has seen an extensive and widespread number deaths. Severe weather and difficulty finding sufficient fish stocks during their migration are considered to be contributing factors 5,6 

Potential for diseases to be involved a part of the cause of the mortalities was investigated;  a number of birds were submitted for necropsy from a number of locations in Qld, NSW, Vic, Tas and WA.  All have showed similar results, including muscle wasting, emaciation and evidence of starvation. Some infectious diseases including avian influenza and Newcastle disease were excluded by PCR in the events in NSW, Vic, Tas and WA. Infection with West Nile Virus was also excluded by PCR in birds from NSW.

If you see a large number of dead birds on a beach, you can report the incident to your state or territory WHA Coordinator. If you find any live birds that are obviously unwell or injured, please contact your local veterinarian or wildlife carer group for advice.  

Shearwater mortalities -  Summary 11.12.2013  [PDF; 432 KB; 1pg] 

Note: WHA would like to thank all those who submitted information, including our subscribers, state and territory WHA coordinators, university researchers and zoo veterinarians. 

Rainbow lorikeet deaths


In early March 2012, a number of wild rainbow lorikeets (Trichoglossus haematodus) were report as dead or sick at a number of sites in the eastern and north-eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Sick birds were showing signs such as diarrhoea, vomiting, regurgitation, and lethargy. In some cases, hand feeding of lorikeets had occurred at the sites where birds were found. Investigations were undertaken by veterinary staff at the University of Melbourne Faculty of Veterinary Science and Victorian Department of Primary Industries.

More Information: 

NSW OEH - The dangers of feeding lorikeets 

Necrotic enteritis in free-living rainbow lorikeets [summary in AHSQ Vol. 17 Issue 1]