As the discussion about the COVID-19 pandemic profiles the human impact and loss of life, there is another conversation that needs to be had according to leading ecologists who study the root cause of pandemics such as the one we are experiencing.
‘Renowned conservationist and activist Dr Jane Goodall is hoping the coronavirus pandemic will be a wake-up call, warning the crisis is a result of human disregard for nature and animals. Dr Goodall said we should have known a pandemic-like coronavirus was coming because other viruses, such as SARS and HIV, also jumped the species barrier from animals,’ report Diprose and Neal.
Both SARS and COVID-19 are types of coronavirus and have been traced to live animal markets, or wet markets, in China.
But Dr Goodall said the loss of animal habitats and intensive farming are part of the problem, making it easier for viruses to spread from one animal to another and then to humans.
“We have to learn to think differently about how we interact with the natural world,” she said. “And one of the problems is that as more and more forests have disappeared, so animals themselves have come in closer contact with each other.
“Most of these viruses that jumped to us have come through an intermediary. So there’s a reservoir host like a bat and in [the case of COVID-19] it’s thought to have jumped into a pangolin and then into us.”
Dr Andrew Peters, an associate professor in wildlife health and pathology at Charles Sturt University, backs Dr Goodall’s assertions that human interference with animal habitats is a concern when it comes to diseases.
“There’s going to be intense focus on the wet markets in China as a focus for human spill-over of viruses from wildlife, and that’s rightfully so,” Dr Peters said.
Picture: Dr Andrew Peters says human impacts on the natural environment are a factor in viruses crossing from animals to humans (Supplied: Shane Raida/Charles Sturt University)
Read the full story here: The jolt we need to start behaving in ways that respect the earth.
A new documentary Jane Goodall: The Hope, based on Dr Goodall’s long career, will be released April 22 by National Geographic to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.