The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today its first-ever Zoonotic Disease Initiative, a grant program focused on wildlife disease prevention and preparedness. Authorized under the American Rescue Plan, the Initiative will provide $9 million in available funding to states, Tribes and territories to strengthen early detection, rapid response and science-based management research to address wildlife disease outbreaks before they cross the barrier from animals to humans and become pandemics.
The highest priority for the funding is to increase organizational readiness and ensure a network of state, Tribal and territorial wildlife managers across the nation are prepared for zoonotic disease outbreaks. Strengthening partner capacity for wildlife health monitoring will allow for the early detection of diseases.
“Healthy wildlife and ecosystems are vital to the success of all Service goals and programs and essential to protecting public health,” said Martha Williams, Service Director. “This funding is made possible by the American Rescue Plan and supported by the Biden Harris administration and will enhance our ability to quickly confront wildlife disease outbreaks and help prevent future pandemics.”
Zoonotic diseases are defined as those that can be transmitted between animals and humans. The Service’s One Health approach to zoonotic diseases includes working closely with expert partners in public, animal and ecosystem health to develop comprehensive plans and appropriate responses to disease events.
Grants awarded under the Zoonotic Disease Initiative will be used to establish and enhance the capabilities of Tribal, state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies to effectively address health issues involving free-ranging terrestrial, avian and aquatic wildlife. Funded work will strive to protect the public against zoonotic disease outbreaks before they become pandemics that pose a risk to the United States and beyond.
Grant proposals will be accepted between the date of this announcement and 11:59 PM Eastern on June 11, 2022. For more information, please visit the Service’s Zoonotic Disease Initiative webpage.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, visit www.fws.gov, or connect with us through any of these social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.