Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
Wildlife sanctuaries, game reserves, and national parks in Asia, Africa, and South America have closed during the COVID-19 pandemic as borders have been shut, visas restricted and quarantines enforced to limit the spread of the virus. While in US national parks that led to a flourishing of wildlife because the tourists were not there, however, just the opposite is true in many other countries. The Washington Post reported that as a result there is greatly reduced enforcement of wildlife trafficking prohibitions and protection for wildlife because the entire ecotourism “ecosystem” had to be laid off — from rangers to guides and drivers, to animal caregivers.
Why This Matters: Globally this drastic reduction (80% in most places) translates into losses of trillions of dollars and millions of jobs to local communities for whom this is their only income, and these declines in travel are expected to last at least a year. Already the illegal wildlife trade and exploitation of natural resources and endangered species have increased, according to the Internation Union for the Conservation of Nature. And experts agree that this makes the risk of another pandemic even greater because these are exactly what facilitates the spillover and spread of zoonotic diseases.
Refisch believes that digital solutions are possible replacements — for example, he cites this initiative to promote virtual ecotourism. It won’t come close to replacing the lost income from big-dollar ecotourism, but it shows that there might be new business models to try. There are other initiatives as well, such as The Internet of Elephants, a collaborative social enterprise working towards a stronger connection between people and wild animals, which has partnered with the Borneo Nature Foundation and the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project to design Wildeverse, an augmented reality game featuring gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans.
What You Can Do: Donate to initiatives such as Lion’s Share to support communities that are highly dependent on income from tourism; or the SOS African Wildlife initiative, which responds to COVID-19 related threats.
by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer A new study suggests that baby sharks are being born tiny, tired, and malnourished as a result of rising temperatures in the ocean. Scientists analyzed the effects of warming waters on young epaulette sharks — a small, egg-laying species that lives in the Great Barrier Reef. These researchers examined […]
In a story for the New York Times,Sam Anderson documents the lonely lives of the two beautiful creatures and details what we lose when a species vanishes before one’s eyes — it brings gravity to the extinction process that numbers and statistics just can’t.
Why This Matters: In 2019, the United Nations released a report detailing accelerating extinction rates.
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.