Why is it important to report wildlife mortalities?

Over the past 12 months, the Wildlife Investigations Laboratory has been asking the public for their assistance in reporting wildlife mortality events.  WIL recognizes that mortality reports are an important tool in monitoring the health of the State’s wildlife. Wildlife mortality reports can:

  • help us better understand these phenomena;
  • lead to more effective prevention and control;
  • potentially detect emerging diseases affecting fish and wildlife; and
  • recognize problems that could affect human and domestic animal health.

WIL received 30 mortality reports submitted by the public from July 2012 – June 2013.  These reports documented mortalities in 21 different species and have been added to a permanent record so that we may potentially be able to detect phenomena such as seasonal mortality trends or weather mortality events in the future.

Mortality Reports:  July 2012 – June 2013

CDFW - WIL Wildlife Mortality Reports, 2012-2013

CDFW – WIL Wildlife Mortality Reports, 2012-2013

Public reporting makes a valuable contribution to the information we are trying to collect and is an important source for disease outbreak monitoring and emerging health threats. Please help us monitor the fish and wildlife populations in California.

For more information on wildlife mortality reporting, please follow the links below.

California wildlife mortality reports:


California roadkill tracking:


Wildlife heath information:




2 thoughts on “Why is it important to report wildlife mortalities?

  1. Nice post, noticed that all of the reporting requires printing a PDF, then carrying the paper-based form for “opportunistic observation”. Why not put out a really basic app like Outbreaks Near Me for things like Roadkill or mortality reporting? Personally speaking, I don’t own a printer, but have looked for ways to electronically report roadkill multiple times. Would really expand the citizen science reach of the program and likely lead to an increase in reporting.

    • HI David – thanks for your advice. We are looking into an application for making the mortality reporting more real time and web based. For roadkills in CA, there is the California Roadkill Observation System: http://www.wildlifecrossing.net/california/
      run by the UC Davis Road Ecology Center and the Information Center for the Environment. I’m not sure if they have a mobile app or not.


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