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Strengthening public awareness and outreach regarding marine mammal welfare, diseases and their zoonotic potential at the German coast

Project data

Project leader: Prof. Prof. h. c. Dr. Ursula Siebert
Scientific work: Anja Reckendorf
Project term: 05.2017 until 02.2018
Sponsorship: Wildlife Disease Association Small Grants Committee

Project description

Wild animal welfare, their diseases and zoonotic potential have become an increasingly important issue among wildlife populations, health investigators and authorities of the German coastal environment. Through the German stranding network and in the framework of its national wildlife population monitoring projects, the ITAW has compiled a large overview of the sanitary status of the free ranging seal and porpoise populations in German waters over the last twenty years.
A further step would be to use this knowledge for the development of outreach programs and materials to educate target groups, such as the general public, tourists, schools, as well as wildlife workers, biologists and veterinarians who may get in contact with but have varying knowledge of wildlife welfare and diseases. The interaction between wildlife and humans is steadily increasing and the dangers of potential disease transmission are mostly underestimated by the general public. Instead of creating an alarming view on marine mammal diseases and zoonoses, the project aims to disseminate valuable information on diseases harboured by local marine mammals, their transmission and the potential dynamics between wildlife, domestic pets and humans. The project aims to further animal welfare by increasing the understanding among humans of potential dangers of wildlife interactions and by making people aware that giving animals their space is often the best solution.

Contact person

University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research Werftstr. 6 25761 Büsum


Anja Reckendorf


Tel.:+49 511 856-8165

Fax.:+49 511 856-8181


send e-mail

Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover
Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research
Werftstr. 6
25761 Büsum
Tel.:+49 511 856-8165
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