Your Ideas for WHER!

Since the Wildlife Health Event Reporter (WHER),, was launched in 2010, we have received and collected from the WHER community their ideas on how to enhance and improve this wildlife health surveillance and communication tool.

Below is list of ideas we have accumulated over the years. If you have suggestions for WHER enhancements or changes, we want to add them to the list. You can email us at or just add your comment here. By sharing your ideas, you are helping us better understand the needs and interests of current and future WHER users.

What is Your Idea?

Mockup of ideas for additional alerting options.
Click on image for larger view.
Expand Alerting Options
  • Create a new Alerting Module that would provide more powerful notification options. Reports could be filtered based on the following parameters:
    • Size of event: Notifies the user only when a specific number of animals is reported in a given geographic area; larger events may indicate a disease outbreak and warrant field investigation.
    • Species: Users can create customized notifications for species they are researching or that are threatened or endangered, for example.
    • Geographic area: Filters reports from specific geographic areas. 
  • Add the option to filter out multiple reports that come in about the same event. (How is this done currently without WHER? Would the requirement of including photographs of the animal AND the environment around the event help to filter out duplicate reports). View an example of an email alert.  
  • Create the option to filter by the role of the reporter (e.g. citizen, resource manager, wildlife rehabilitator or biologist) or color code reports/maps of events based on role.
    Develop Smart Phone Capabilities
    • Expand notification process to receive alerts via simple text messages, a more commonly available mode of communication to use in the field compared to email or feeds (not everyone has access to smart phones; email is not always accessible). 
    • Help to decrease the lag time after an incident has been observed and encourage photographs.
    • Provide alert management through mobile application for on the go modifications during outbreaks.
    • Capture data in both online and offline environments to sync later.
    Customize WHER for Special Projects
    • Develop a copy or instance of WHER for wildlife health emergencies e.g. oil spill, environmental disasters, disease outbreaks (West Nile) (Use it to collect the same information as for public WHER but for a targeted purpose). 
    • Develop a copy or instance of WHER for specific research projects (e.g. manage data and collaborate on wildlife disease cases with partners, such as avian botulism, ranavirus, or snake fungal disease).
    Screenshot of current data fields for diagnostic information.
    Click on image for larger view.
    Add Data Upload/Collection Options
    • For external systems that don't offer web services or XML streams of their data, develop a data upload tool (XLS, CSV) for wildlife health datasets, current and historic, that others are willing to contribute to WHER.
    • Add more data collection fields to support diagnostic information.  View current fields HERE.
    • Add more data collection fields for public observations related to cause of death (beyond roadkill/vehicle collision, window/building collision, fell from nest, drown, killed by another animal, poisoning, shot, starvation, impact with wind town/rotor, disease, unknown)
    • Add fields wildlife rehabilitators are required to report to state/federal agencies about the wild animals in their care (e.g. disposition of animal and the animal's release location). View the current fields available in WHER for reporting a wildlife health event.  Could help to facilitate annual reporting requirements and help detect outbreaks or emerging issues.
    Expand WHER Filter/Search Options
    • Add option to filter by additional fields/options, such as if the user is interested only in migratory/non-migratory species, and so on.
    • Add filters for geographic areas/boundaries (e.g. Joint Venture regions, US Fish and Wildlife Service regions/flyways, Landscape Conservation Cooperatives)
    • Your thoughts on other filter and search options?
    Assemble a WHER Advisory Board
    • Organize a consortium of WHER stakeholders to give input and direction on future developments, enhance partnerships, and collaborate on upcoming opportunities.
    Integrate Other Health Information 
    • Integrate wildlife health data with public and domestic animal health event information to provide a global health perspective. Your thoughts on what is required?
    Increase Awareness of WHER   
    • Expand outreach activities to increase public and professional awareness through demonstrations and participation in events (citizen science centers, local science expos, targeted publications) and publishing in public facing materials like newsletters, magazines.
    • Promote the use of WHER to build a long-term wildlife morbidity and mortality dataset. Your ideas on how to do this? 

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