Importance of Natural Resources

COVID-19: How does it relate to wildlife?

As a wildlife biologist, I’ve been asked a whole lot of questions with regards to how COVID-19 coronavirus relates to wildlife.
Zoonotic diseases originate in wildlife and jump to humans through the
consumption or handling of an intermediate animal host. COVID-19 is a zoonotic disease. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19. It belongs to the same family of viruses as SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV which is found in bats. However, very little is actually known about the intermittent host for COVID-19. A lot of people have been blaming the adorable Pangolin. While the pangolin is the most trafficked animal in the world, it’s not definitive that the pangolin has been linked to the COVID-19 outbreak Some researchers are leaning towards the
likelihood that it was from a turtle. We won’t know for sure until a lot more research is done. Like SARS, Ebola and bird flu, COVID-19 is linked to wildlife trafficking. Wildlife trafficking and poaching refers to the practice of
destroying habitats, hunting animals and selling those animals in markets for
traditional medicines, foods, pets, and other uses. When humans partake in these
activities, these pathogens are able to jump species and affect humans. Ending
the illegal trade and consumption of wildlife will greatly reduce the spread
of disease as well as help to end the extinction of threatened wildlife across
the globe. The CDC says at this time there is no evidence that companion
animals including pets can spread COVID-19, or that they might be a source of the
infection in the United States. However the virus COULD be on a pet. You should
refrain from touching unfamiliar animals as with all things at this time, and be
sure to wash your hands before and after touching anything foreign at all. In
order to save animals and people alike we need to band together and fight to
stop illegal wildlife trafficking once and for all. Stay safe, stay isolated and
we will beat this thing.

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