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Wildlife health

The wildlife health program maintains a strong program of wildlife disease monitoring to detect the introduction of new diseases, changes in disease patterns and significant impacts on wildlife populations. The wildlife health team's mission is to investigate, manage and educate about disease and other health issues affecting wildlife to help conserve Wisconsin's rich wildlife heritage.

2019 newsletter

Wildlife Health Matters [PDF] is a publication of the Wildlife Health section of the department's Bureau of Wildlife Management and is released annually.

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Newsletter articles

  • A featured article on avian cholera - Page 1
  • Cause of death findings from the necropsy program - Page 4
  • Disease surveillance including WNV, EHD and bovine tuberculosis surveillance - Page 7
  • Emerging disease: ranavirus - Page 12
  • Wildlife Rehabilitation Corner and Keep Wildlife Wild poster contest - Page 13
  • Wildlife Translocations: ruffed grouse and elk - Page 15

Report sick or dead wildlife

Help monitor the health of Wisconsin's wildlife by reporting your sightings of sick or dead wildlife to

If you observe five or more sick or dead birds, or three or more sick or dead mammals in one area please email Please include the number of animals, the species, such as raccoon or Canada goose, if they were sick or dead, the specific location where you saw them and your contact information in case further information is needed. Besides groups of wildlife the DNR has disease monitoring programs for the specific wildlife species listed to the right.

As of January 2020, the Division of Public Health no longer collects dead birds for West Nile virus testing. Due to this change, the Dead Bird Reporting Hotline has been disconnected.

Individual dead birds that are not on the list below can be discarded in your regular trash. To dispose of a bird carcass, use gloves or an inverted plastic bag to place the carcass in a garbage bag. Do not handle dead wildlife with bare hands.

Report observations of single sick or dead animals of the following:

  • banded loons, eagles and osprey;
  • peregrine falcons;
  • trumpeter swans that have leg bands or neck collars;
  • greater prairie chickens ruffed grouse and sharp-tailed grouse;
  • bats: you may also enter reports of sick or dead bats electronically using the Reporting Form [exit DNR] found on the Wisconsin Bat Monitoring Program's website [exit DNR];
  • wolves;
  • American marten;
  • raccoons;
  • snakes, especially those with skin lesions;
  • bear, especially bear cubs; and
  • elk and deer.