In most developed countries, the maintenance of the numbers of wildlife1 is vested in the natural resource agencies of those countries. During earlier times, game species were the primary focus of natural resource agencies2,3 however, current wildlife conservation continues to transition towards a more holistic focus on biodiversity4 and environmental health5,6. Nevertheless, that transition lags behind in addressing wildlife disease in “…the struggle for existence between different forms of life…”.7 Thus, the primary objective of this presentation is to provide a pragmatic assessment of wildlife disease that is irrespective of one’s orientation towards wildlife conservation. A secondary objective is to highlight the changing role of disease over time as a wildlife conservation factor. That transition is relevant to the insights provided for current and future efforts focused on sustaining global biodiversity and desired levels of wildlife populations in nature.