Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center

Photo: Bison

Yellowstone Wildlife Health Program

Wildlife, domestic animals and humans share a large and increasing number of infectious diseases. At Yellowstone National Park, several wildlife diseases currently (or may) determine the outcome of the park’s conservation mandate.

Accomplishments to date:

  • Development of a highly productive program within a short period of time using minimal staff and funding.
  • Establishment of a surveillance program that targets diseases of important wildlife groups and response plans for specific diseases such as brucellosis and chronic wasting disease.
  • Collaborations with 21 different agencies and academic institutions on projects directly applicable to park management.
  • Contributions to the advanced education of 4 graduate students.
  • Peer review and publication of 15 papers in scientific journals.
  • Creation of a wildlife disease surveillance laboratory to safely process analyze and store biological samples.
  • Development of protocols and standard operating procedures for employee health and safety.

Future elements of the program may include:

  • Competitive funding for wildlife and ecosystem health research
  • resident ecosystem health field director 
  • on-site veterinary services 
  • wildlife disease diagnostics 
  • research field lab capacity
  • Yellowstone Wildlife Health training
The Yellowstone Park Foundation has updates on wildlife conservation in Yellowstone.