People have lowered or stopped consuming wildlife by 30 percent because of COVID-19

Published June 2, 2021, 12:00 PM

by Patricia Bianca Taculao

A survey conducted by GlobeScan for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) showed that around 30 percent of people across China, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and the United States say they have consumed less or stopped consuming wildlife altogether because of the health crisis. 

The figures were published in a  new report titled “COVID-19: One Year Later:  Public Perceptions about Pandemics and their Links to Nature.”

One reason behind these results could come from a recent investigation from the World Health Organization (WHO) that points to wildlife as a likely source of the pandemic. The survey also discovered that all five countries strongly support their government efforts to close high-risk markets that sell wildlife and stop deforestation which are the root causes of zoonotic disease outbreaks.

Photo by Andreas Schantl from Unsplash

Working on the root causes like high-risk wildlife trade and deforestation are seen by the majority of the survey participants as a way to prevent future pandemics. Other key drivers of zoonotic disease outbreaks include wildlife farming, land-use change leading to deforestation, and high-risk wildlife trade. 

Such activities can spread diseases like COVID-19, SARS, MERS, and Ebola easily since wild animals are placed in closer proximity to people and domestic animals.

To strengthen similar approaches in other countries, WWF started its Preventing Future Pandemics advocacy which calls on government entities to adopt a One Health approach to high-risk wildlife trade and deforestation.  

WWF is also calling on decision-makers to implement interventions needed to address the key drivers of zoonotic disease outbreaks in their pandemic prevention plans. 

“The message is clear: our nature’s health is directly impacting our health, and people are now getting that message. Moving forward, our solutions should work with nature and not against it. Globally, as well as nationally here in the Philippines, the steps we are undertaking to ensure the end of this pandemic should also ensure that we are preventing the next one,” said WWF Philippines Executive Director Katherine Custodio.

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