Diseases like the COVID-19 pandemic that hit the world could become more common because human activity destroys habitats and forces disease-carrying wild animals closer to us, a major study showed on Wednesday.
Illegal poaching, mechanical farming, and an increasing urban lifestyle all lead to the masses loss of biodiversity in recent decades, wild animal populations are destroying and increasing the abundance of domesticated livestock.
Around 70 percent human pathogen is zoonoses, which means they at one point made a jump from animal to human like COVID-19.
US-based researchers looked at more than 140 viruses that are known to have been transmitted from animals to humans, and referred to them with the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species.
They found that pets, primates, bats and mice carry the most zoonotic viruses – about 75 percent.
“Our data highlights how wildlife exploitation and destruction of natural habitats in particular, which underlie disease spillover events, put us at risk for the emergence of infectious diseases,” said Christine Johnson, of the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, lead author of the study. .
Last year a UN panel on biodiversity warned that one million species are facing extinction human activity.
The landmark assessment shows that 75 percent of the land and 40 percent of the oceans on Earth have been severely degraded by humanity.
Deforestation, in particular, is increasing pressure on wild mammals, which struggle to adapt to habitat loss.
And as we explore further in their territories, wild animals are forced to increase contact with humans, increasing the risk of other COVID-19.
“We are changing the landscape through deforestation, land conversion to plant crops or raising livestock, or building communities,” Johnson told AFP.
“This also increases the frequency and intensity of contact between humans and wildlife – creating the perfect conditions for the spread of the virus.”
Urgent trade ban
Scientists are still trying to find species that transmit COVID-19 to humans – suspects including bats and anteaters, both of which are considered delicacies in China, where the outbreak appeared.
Conservationists are calling for a global ban on wildlife trade after the pandemic and China have banned consumption wild animal.
Greenpeace on Wednesday urged the European Union to push for bans around the world “to protect public health and biodiversity throughout the world “.
But COVID-19 also saw important UN biodiversity talks postponed and several indigenous group reported greater encroachment of illegal miners and poachers into tropical forests.
This study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, also shows the prevalence of zoonotic diseases in animals that are mass produced for agriculture.
“Once we get through this public health emergency, we hope that policy makers can focus on pandemic preparedness and prevention of zoonotic disease risks, especially when developing environmental policies, land management, and animal resources,” Johnson said.
Global changes in mammalian population trends reveal major predictors of the risk of spreading the virus, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, rspb.royalsocietypublishing.or …. .1098 / rspb.2019.2736
© 2020 AFP
Human activity to blame for the spread of the virus: study (2020, 8 April)
taken April 8, 2020
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