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World COVID-19 Has Slashed Asia's Appetite for Wild Animals, a New Report Finds

04:30  24 may  2021
04:30  24 may  2021 Source:   time.com

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COVID - 19 Has Slashed Asia ' s Appetite for Wild Animals , a New Report Finds . A breeder wearing face mask holds one-month-old white tiger cubs at Beijing Wildlife Park on April 2, 2020 in Beijing, China. Zhao Jun/China News Service via Getty Images. But then the COVID - 19 pandemic erupted in the nearby city of Wuhan in January 2020, prompting the Beijing government to ban the sale of wild animals , which across Asia are often prized for purported health benefits, with their skins sold to makers of fashion accessories. Li’s livelihood was snatched away and he says he was compensated

There have also been reports of a surge in bushmeat poaching in Kenya and other parts of Africa, as well as Cambodia, according to the non-profit Conservation International. In Africa’ s rural areas, one driver of this surge is the challenge people are facing in finding their next meal. Poaching for bushmeat and animals such as pangolin increases the risk of new diseases passing into humans, but many people have few realistic alternatives (Credit: Getty Images). Poachers have seen park closures, the diversion of law enforcement to Covid - 19 -related duties and reduced ranger patrols as “as ideal

About eight years ago, Li Hong began rearing snakes on a patch of land in China’s central Hunan province. The 7,000 or so elaphe carinata, commonly known as the king ratsnake or Taiwan stinksnake, he sold each year fetched around 2 million renminbi ($220,000)—far more than the 51-year-old previously earned as a migrant worker toiling in factories and on construction sites.

a person holding a baby: A breeder wearing face mask holds one-month-old white tiger cubs at Beijing Wildlife Park on April 2, 2020 in Beijing, China. © Zhao Jun/China News Service via Getty Images A breeder wearing face mask holds one-month-old white tiger cubs at Beijing Wildlife Park on April 2, 2020 in Beijing, China.

But then the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in the nearby city of Wuhan in January 2020, prompting the Beijing government to ban the sale of wild animals, which across Asia are often prized for purported health benefits, with their skins sold to makers of fashion accessories. Li’s livelihood was snatched away and he says he was compensated only 144 renminbi ($22) per kilo of snake destroyed.

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A new report from the World Health Organization has also said Covid - 19 probably spread to people through an animal . Russia was the first country in the world last year to approve a coronavirus vaccine in humans, though its early rollout before Phase 3 trials had finished was criticized globally. Tell Me Your Secrets centers on a trio of characters each with a mysterious and troubling past, including Emma, a young woman who once looked into the eyes of a dangerous killer, John, a former serial predator desperate to find redemption and Mary, a grieving mother obsessed with finding her missing daughter.

India has reported more than 8,800 cases of deadly "black fungus" in a growing epidemic of the disease. The normally rare infection, called mucormycosis, has a mortality rate of 50%, with some only saved by removing an eye. A separate study by four Indian doctors has looked at more than 100 cases of Covid - 19 patients who had contracted mucormycosis. It found 79 of them were men, and 83 of them suffered from diabetes. Another study of 45 black fungus patients in two Mumbai hospitals found that all were diabetics or diagnosed with diabetes on admission.

“Today, market demand is very low and if we want to farm snakes, we have to go to the provincial forestry bureau for approval, which is a lot of trouble,” he tells TIME. “Now only medicinal-use snakes can be approved; other uses [like eating] are not allowed.”

Li is not alone. The pandemic has catalyzed sweeping bans on the sale and consumption of wildlife across the world as the public becomes more aware of the causes of infectious outbreaks. Ahead of the convening Sunday of latest World Health Assembly, a new World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report reveals that nearly 30% of people surveyed across China, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the U.S. say they have consumed less wildlife, or stopped consuming wildlife altogether, because of the global health crisis.

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Thailand had largely appeared to have kept Covid - 19 in check, recording a low death toll for a nation of 70 million people that shares porous borders with four countries, including Myanmar. "We will have to cut the epidemic cycle quickly. Authorities in Bangkok have urged people to intensify preventative measures against the coronavirus by avoiding gatherings and observing social distancing. They have also asked public and private sector organisations to cancel their annual new year countdown parties. The latest outbreak comes as Thailand attempts to revive a tourist industry hit hard by the pandemic.

Since the first positive results on vaccines have come out, a lot of people have asked me if I think everyone should take them? For some reason, a number of people out there trust my judgement on such things. The first thing I want to say here is that the type of vaccine being developed against Covid - 19 has never been used before, outside of Ebola. Some people feel that they should not really be called vaccines, because they are completely different from anything that has gone before.

“The world has gotten a crash course this past year in pandemics,” says Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF-US. “Preventing future ones requires us to repair our broken relationship with nature, and that starts with ending the trade and consumption of high-risk wildlife and stopping deforestation.”

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Investigative team members of the World Health Organization visit Huanan seafood market in Wuhan on January 31, 2021 in Wuhan, China. Getty Images © Getty Images Investigative team members of the World Health Organization visit Huanan seafood market in Wuhan on January 31, 2021 in Wuhan, China. Getty Images

Attitudes to wildlife changing amid the pandemic

Research shows that COVID-19 is likely among the three-quarters of emerging infectious diseases that are “zoonotic,” meaning they jumped from animals to humans. Wildlife consumption is a major driver of zoonotic outbreaks, as well as destruction of natural habitats that pushes human and animal populations closer together. In China, civets, live wolf pups and pangolins have often been kept in cramped and filthy conditions, allowing diseases to incubate and then spill into human populations. Ebola, SARS, the Nipah virus and MERS are other examples of human diseases that began in animals.

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The Covid - 19 pandemic was preventable, an independent review panel has said. The panel, set up by the World Health Organization, said the combined response of the WHO and global governments was a "toxic cocktail". The WHO should have declared a global emergency earlier than it did, its report said, adding that While the US and Europe are beginning to ease restrictions and resume some aspects of pre-pandemic life, the virus is still devastating parts of Asia . India in particular is seeing record-breaking numbers of new cases and deaths, with severe oxygen shortages in hospitals across the country.

Other studies have found that these deaths meant that large tracts of previously cultivated land was abandoned, growing wild and sinking large quantities of CO2. The impact from today’ s outbreak is not predicted to lead to anywhere near the same number of deaths, and it is unlikely to lead to It’ s safe to say that no one would have wanted for emissions to be lowered this way. Covid - 19 has taken a grim global toll on lives, health services, jobs and mental health. But, if anything, it has also shown the difference that communities can make when they look out for each other – and that’ s one lesson that

Although the consumption of wild animals is common across much of the developing world, China’s huge population makes it a key player in the issue. Wildlife farming began in China in the early 1980s with government backing, partly as an attempt to alleviate poverty and partly in the belief that farming exotic animals would help protect wild populations from hunters.

China’s wildlife industry employed 14 million people and had a market value of some $76 billion in 2016, with its exotic food sector comprising $19 billion, according to the Chinese Academy of Engineering. “The wildlife industry has effectively contributed to regional economic development and greatly increased the economic income of farmers and forestry workers and local tax revenues,” an industry report from Academy says.

But that changed following COVID-19. In February 2020, soon after COVID-19 was first detected at a market in Wuhan known for selling wild animals, the Chinese government announced a broad ban on wildlife consumption. Attitudes have changed fast, too, with an awareness about the dangers of eating wildlife across the country.

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Read more: Wild Animal Markets Spark Fear in the Coronavirus Outbreak

In China, 91% of respondents to the WWF survey thought closing wildlife markets was the most effective measure to prevent future pandemics. Meanwhile, 28% now consume less or have stopped consuming wildlife, with 41% of respondents in Thailand and 39% in Vietnam expressing similar changes of behavior.

Despite increased awareness, there remains a committed core of wildlife consumers, with 9% of respondents intent on buying wildlife products in the future in all five countries surveyed by WWF. And while the Chinese government has banned the trade in wild creatures, President Xi Jinping continues to promote Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, which includes many treatments that involve the byproducts of exotic animals.

Moreover, the survey didn’t include any nations in Africa, where consumption of “bush meat” has been an integral part of people’s diets for centuries. “It would be good to ban the live animal markets as China has done and some countries,” Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, the acting executive secretary of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, told the U.K. Guardian newspaper. “But we should also remember you have communities, particularly from low-income rural areas, particularly in Africa, which are dependent on wild animals to sustain the livelihoods of millions of people.”

Li the snake farmer had thought his livelihood assured. Now, however, the future is uncertain. He says the compensation he’s been promised isn’t enough to cover his feed and labor bills. He’s been forced to take out a bank loan and is instead growing herbs for TCM due to the low start-up costs.

“I have no choice,” Li shrugs, “but to abide by national directives.”

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