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Why This Matters: The world has faced many major pandemics, such as SARS and now COVID-19, that are believed to have been spread from human contact with wild animals. Laws against selling endangered animals have not been enforced, even when past disease outbreaks led to a temporary closure of wildlife markets. But a real ban from both these countries that have major wildlife trading could begin the trend toward an effective solution. To prevent future crises, restrictions on trade must continue after the end of the pandemic and the new laws must be enforced. This will require a difficult cultural change because many people go to wildlife markets to buy “status symbols, pets, food or to be used in traditional medicines. But if a devastating global pandemic doesn’t create the impetus for the changes needed to prevent the next one, what will?
There is No Easy Solution but Habitat Protection Can Help
“I think it’s quite clear that the rapid rate of biodiversity loss is a measure of how much we’re disturbing the living world upon which our health depends,” said Aaron Bernstein (director of the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital). “People get really upset when the stock market takes massive punches. Well, if people think the stock market is a measure of human welfare, magnify that by a millionfold and look at the amount of life we share the planet with. Then you have something to really be concerned about.”
By Will Gartshore, Director of Government Affairs and Advocacy, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” It’s an old aphorism that still rings painfully true today. Long before Covid-19, the three deadliest pandemics in human history—the bubonic plague, Spanish influenza and HIV/AIDS—claimed more lives than all the […]
We know the permafrost in the Arctic is melting fast, but a new study finds that one of the reasons for its rapid decline may be that beavers are actually damming it up — literally. CNN reports that using satellite images scientists have observed that beavers are building dams way farther north than previously observed. […]
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, animals have enjoyed the freedom of a quieter world by venturing further into cities and suburbs. While this “anthropause” has made for thrilling YouTube videos, scientists have taken the opportunity to study the effects of human activity across geographic regions, ecosystems, their effect on species. Researchers have been tracking animal movements […]
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