A Review of Non-Invasive Sampling in Wildlife Disease and Health Research: What’s New?
The interest in wildlife research has increased in the last decades as more scientists work within a One Health framework that regards human, livestock and wildlife health as connected entities. To minimise the impact of research on wildlife, collecting samples with as little disturbance of the animals as possible is important. In our review, we assess the use of so-called non-invasive sampling and summarise which samples can be used successfully when carrying out research on wildlife diseases and health status. Our results show that interest in minimally invasive sampling has steadily increased since the 2010s. Topics able to employ these methods include disease research, but also stress and other hormone assessments, pollution studies, and dietary studies. At the moment, such methods are mainly used to collect samples from land mammals, however, they can also be used in a wide range of other animals. Ever more capable analytical methods will allow for an even wider use of such “animal-friendly” sampling methods.