Study: The more we understand about COVID-19, the less we consume wildlife

Research: The more we understand about COVID-19, the less we consume wildlife - Photo 1.

China banned the sale of wild animals from February 2020 – Photo: SCMP

According to research published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution On September 6, reducing the demand for wildlife can be an effective solution to prevent the risk of a new pandemic.

According to the newspaper South China Morning PostThe study was led by scientist Robin Naidoo of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in the US.

In March 2020, the research team surveyed 5,000 people in countries and regions such as Japan, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong. The team asked them if they had eaten wild mammals, birds or reptiles in the past 12 months and if they had changed their habits because of COVID-19 now and in the future.

According to the survey results, the more awareness about COVID-19 in general, the lower the probability that survey respondents say they or someone they know will buy wildlife.

The team also found that in all survey locations (except Myanmar), survey respondents believed that closing wildlife markets would be effective in preventing future pandemics.

In the following survey, which took place between February and March 2021, 92% of 1,000 survey respondents in mainland China said they strongly support the government’s efforts to close markets. high-risk wildlife.

“There is a huge consensus among the general population about measures to reduce the risk of future pandemics by stopping wildlife sales,” said Daniel Bergin, senior project manager at the company. Public opinion research consulting firm GlobeScan – said.

One of the main drivers of emerging infectious diseases transmitted from animals to humans is the wildlife trade, the authors say.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 70% of emerging infectious diseases in humans originate from animals, especially wild animals. WHO also called on countries to enact urgent regulations to prevent the sale of wild mammals in markets.

“Targeting the link between the wildlife trade and the potential for disease and future pandemics is how we can change people’s perceptions and attitudes,” Bergin said.

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