Using The ‘One Health’ Approach to Solve Complex Problems at the Livestock-Wildlife Interface
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2009
Jonna A. K. Mazet1, DVM, MPVM, PhD; Deana L. Clifford1, DVM, MPVM, PhD; Peter B. Coppolillo2, PhD; Jon D. Erickson3, PhD; Tom R. Stephenson4, PhD; Vern C. Bleich4,5, PhD; Walter M. Boyce1, DVM, PhD; Rudovick R. Kazwala6, DVM, PhD
1Wildlife Health Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA, USA; 2Yellowstone Rockies Program (Formerly Ruaha Landscape Program), Wildlife Conservation Society, Bozeman, MT, USA; 3Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resource, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, USA; 4Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Recovery Program, California Department of Fish and Game, Bishop, CA, USA; 5Department of Biological Sciences, Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID, USA; 6Department of Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Chuo Kikuu, Morogoro, Tanzania
When livestock and wildlife are in close proximity, diseases can have severe impacts on livelihoods, biodiversity, and even human health. Mitigating these complex ‘One Health’ problems requires identification of implementable and sustainable solutions. Because disease transmission between livestock and wildlife tends to place livestock keepers and conservationists at odds, approaches to solving these problems need to be framed in a neutral context to encourage participation. Using a transdisciplinary, ecosystem approach, we addressed disease transmission between livestock and wildlife—bovine tuberculosis in Tanzania and bighorn sheep pneumonia in the United States. In both countries, existing information was evaluated, and critical gaps were targeted for data collection, via disease testing, health and socioeconomic surveys, and evaluation of wildlife and livestock demography and land usage. The data were then used to assess risk of disease transmission and identify interventions. Science-based interventions likely to mitigate the problems and be implementable in the economic and cultural contexts were identified through stakeholder participation and the involvement of health scientists, ecologists, socioeconomists, cultural anthropologists, and public educators. Economics and work stress had been used as justifications for ecologically unhealthy practices in both countries, but cultural traditions were often at the root of behaviors rather than finances. In both contexts, some stakeholders were open to behavioral change based on scientific and financial justifications, while others were unwilling to participate in such solutions. In the developed country context, government agencies implemented interventions given financial and scientific evidence. In both developing and developed countries, the main obstacle to implementing change is tradition. While strong science is an excellent foundation on which to base recommendations, interventions can succeed only if stakeholders are involved in the characterization of the problem and are willing to make the tradeoffs necessary to balance the needs of people and wildlife.