Wildlife Surveillance

Service Information

Wildlife Surveillance

Disease surveillance is accomplished through three main mechanisms:

  • Submission of specimens to the State lab for rabies evaluation
  • Veterinary Reporting System
  • Environmental Impact Research Group (EIRG).

The EIRG consists of the collaborative efforts of Cook County Animal and Rabies Control, the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation, the University of Illinois-School of Veterinary Medicine Zoological Pathology Department, the Brookfield Zoo and the Cook County Forest Preserve District. Wildlife is studied for behavior, human interaction, intervention, diseases transmissible from animals to man, from wild animals to domestic animals, methods of management and impact to the overall ecology.

The Department processes over 400 specimens annually through the State lab for evaluation of rabies. The Veterinary Reporting System allows the veterinarians to report unusual disease outbreaks or alert us to increased incidents of communicable disease between companion animals.

Cook County Funds Comprehensive Urban Coyote Research Project

Originally known as ghosts of the plains, coyotes have now become ghosts of the cities – occasionally heard but rarely seen. This species is now becoming one of the top carnivores in an increasing number of metropolitan areas across North America. However, we know very little about how coyotes are becoming successful in landscapes dominated by people.

The Cook County Coyote Project largely funded by the Cook County Animal and Rabies Control agency, is a comprehensive ecological study of coyotes in the Chicago metropolitan area, specifically Cook County, Illinois.

To learn more about this unique project on the project website at urbancoyoteresearch.com.


Squirrels, raccoons, opossums, bats, skunks, coyotes, deer and other animals are all examples of Illinois wildlife that coexist with people in our urban environment. Many of these animals are welcome visitors but some may prove to be problematic. They may be in areas that are unsafe for them or for people and pets that come into contact with them. Sometimes removal of the animal is necessary but in the majority of instances taking simple steps can help to prevent many of the most common wildlife related problems in and around your home. To learn additional information about living with wildlife in Illinois view wildlifeillinois.org