The emergence of covid-19, and its association with the trade in wild animals and wildlife markets, has brought the devastating impacts of our dysfunctional and damaging relationship with the natural world into all of our lives, and to the attention of policymakers and the wider public like never before.
Human activities are destroying nature at an unprecedented rate. A million or more species are at risk of extinction, largely as a result of the way we use and abuse the land and the seas, and exploit the species that rely on those natural habitats. Covid-19 has provided a stark reminder that this isn’t just a problem for wildlife. Our well-being is intimately tied to that of the natural world, and the consequences of our destructive activities for our health and our economies are devastating. Scientists have been calling for transformative changes to address these issues, and the pandemic has served to amplify those calls.
Many people are calling for wildlife markets, seen as the likely original source of the virus, to be banned. However, banning the markets at which wild animals are traded and slaughtered, often in appalling conditions, is only part of the solution. No single initiative can ever be a guarantee against future emerging diseases.
At Born Free, we recognise that a wide range of changes are needed if we are to reverse the decline in nature and wildlife, protect the welfare of individual wild animals, and reduce the risks to human and animal health and well-being. That’s why we are promoting and supporting a number of initiatives, which include:
Born Free has been working tirelessly to protect wild animals since 1984. In pursuing our objectives, we believe our approach will also reduce future risks to human and animal health, and promote the well-being of all life on this planet, including our own.
Image © Aaron Gekoski