One Health and watersheds meeting with representatives from Maitland Valley Conservation Authority, Walpole Island First Nation, Healthy Lake Huron and Wildlife Conservation Society Canada., Phil Beard
One Health and watersheds meeting with representatives from Maitland Valley Conservation Authority, Walpole Island First Nation, Healthy Lake Huron and Wildlife Conservation Society Canada. © Phil Beard

One Health

Human health and wellbeing are connected to the health of the natural world.

The Challenge

Everything we do as people depends on a liveable, healthy planet.

Unfortunately, we've ignored this connection for far too long and created significant risks. These include the spread of diseases and pests because of climate change and the chance of future pandemics from badly controlled wildlife harvest or habitat destruction.

The One Health initiative is an effort to change our perspective and consider how our decisions affect the systems we rely on. We need to strengthen these systems to ensure our own health.

Our Solutions

Monitoring and supporting healthy bat populations

  • Our western bats program has played a key role in tracking the spread of deadly white-nose syndrome through an innovative bridge monitoring program.

  • We’re developing a treatment that can increase bats’ resistance to the disease.

  • We’re looking at ways to support bat populations through habitat protection and restoration and use of well-designed artificial roosts.

Making One Health part of conservation planning

  • WCS Canada is working with our global colleagues to increase support for and implementation of the One Health Berlin Principles. These call on governments to include an understanding of the One Health perspective in their plans and policies, including actions to lower the risks of future pandemics.

  • In southern Ontario, we’re working with Conservation Authorities to extend the One Health concept to watershed-level planning and monitoring efforts.

  • We're collaborating with WCS international to increase support for and implementation of the One Health Berlin Principles, which call on governments to integrate an understanding of the One Health perspective into their plans and policies, including actions to lower the risks of future pandemics.

Monitoring the health of traditional food species

  • We’re working with Inuvialuit communities to assess the health of seals along the Arctic coast, including their exposure to microplastics.

  • We’re assessing the health of lake sturgeon in northern Ontario rivers and studying how more mining could release heavy metals into northern watersheds, affecting the safety of fish.

  • We’ve supported research on the possible impacts of climate change on salmon in the Yukon River system. These fish are a key source of food for communities in Yukon and Alaska.

One Health approaches connect the health of people and animals to our shared environment., Global Health Advocacy Incubator
One Health approaches connect the health of people and animals to our shared environment. © Global Health Advocacy Incubator

Projects

Assessing seal diet and health

Assessing seal diet and health

We are working with Inuit in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region to assess seal diets and contaminants as indicators of a changing Arctic ecosystem.

Learning from Lake Sturgeon

Learning from Lake Sturgeon

Big fish need healthy rivers.

Resources


Stories and op-eds

One Health for Watersheds, Wildlife & Well-being
2021-11-24

One Health for Watersheds, Wildlife & Well-being

Through a new One Health approach we can help nature and people to thrive.
Daniel Kraus
Bats are superheroes of the night. Their superpowers could help us protect them.
2020-12-28

Bats are superheroes of the night. Their superpowers could help us protect them.

Many of us might struggle to see a moose on a moonless night, let alone a mosquito. But some bats have a nifty trick — they use their ears to locate their bug prey.
Cori Lausen
It’s time to abandon the ‘detect and react’ approach to managing crises
2020-11-02

It’s time to abandon the ‘detect and react’ approach to managing crises

We need to stop squandering the tremendous health assets nature has gifted us and ensure we do not leave future generations with an impoverished foundation for health.
Justina Ray

Media coverage

Bat-killing fungus plaguing eastern North America found in Saskatchewan

Researchers with the Wildlife Conservation Society report that they’ve found the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in eastern Saskatchewan, despite hopes the western grasslands would prove a barrier.
2021-12-14 | Global News

Our team

Justina Ray

Justina Ray

President & Senior Scientist

Daniel Kraus

Daniel Kraus

Director of National Conservation