The Dutch Society for Wildlife Health (Vereniging Gezondheid en Welzijn Wilde Fauna) was founded on 3 October 2001 by Dr. Lumeij and Prof. dr. Osterhaus.
The mission of the Dutch Society for Wildlife Health is to acquire, disseminate and apply knowledge of the health and welfare of wild and feral animals in relation to their ecosystem, biology, conservation and interaction with humans and domestic animals, with an emphasis on the Netherlands.
The DSWH organizes annually a symposium for all interested and a meeting for all members.
Objectives of the DSWH
- To stimulate wildlife health related research and develop specific funding.
- To encourage an increased emphasis on wildlife health and welfare in the participating graduate school curricula and continuing education.
- To enhance the contribution of veterinary medicine to the health and welfare of wildlife
- To encourage the concept of ecosystem health
- To stress the importance of the interrelationships of humans, domestic animals and wildlife as reservoirs of disease
- To encourage a philosophy of animal management and preventive medicine as it relates to health and welfare of free-ranging animals.
- To stimulate wildlife health surveillance programmes and coordination of national veterinary activities in relation to wildlife
- To stimulate national and international coorporation between both persons and organizations in the field of wildlife health.
The board currently consists of the following members:
Chair: Judith M.A. van den Brand DVM, PhD, Dipl. ECVP, is a veterinary pathologist at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Utrecht University. She completed her PhD in 2013 on the pathology and pathogenesis of influenza virus and SARS coronavirus infections in animal models. Her topics of interest include zoonotic viral infections (such as influenza A virus, coronavirus and lyssavirus) and other diseases of wildlife and exotic animals.
Secretary: Reina Sikkema DVM, veterinarian and researcher at the Viroscience department of the ErasmusMC. She mainly studies the ecology of zoonotic viruses, such as Avian Influenza, MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 and West Nile Virus.
Treasurer: Anne ten Berge MSc, Ecologist at The Royal Dutch Hunters' Association.
Vice chair: Miriam Maas DVM PhD, works as a scientist at the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) in Bilthoven. After completing her PhD on tuberculosis in African lions, she continued working on infectious diseases at the RIVM, where she mainly works on zoonoses from wildlife, such as Echinococcus multilocularis in red foxes, and several rodent-borne diseases.
Board member: Erik Kleyheeg PhD, works as a senior researcher at Sovon Vogelonderzoek Nederland in Nijmegen. He completed his PhD on mallard ecology and plant seed dispersal at Utrecht University in 2015 and developed an interest in the relation between waterbird migration and the spread of avian influenza virus in subsequent projects.
Board member: Helen Esser PhD, Assistant professor at the Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Group, Wageningen University. She is a disease ecologist who is particularly interested in how environmental change (biodiversity loss, climate change, habitat modification) can trigger zoonotic disease outbreaks.
Student board member: Guus Hulshof BSc, Student at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Utrecht University and former Chairman of Study Association Archaeopteryx
Miriam Maas, PhD, DVM
National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)
Centre for Infectious Disease Control (CIb)
Centre for Zoonoses and Environmental Microbiology (Z&O)
Antonie van Leeuwenhoeklaan 9, P.O. Box 1
3720 BA Bilthoven