World leaders must support the closure of illegal and unregulated high-risk wildlife markets that “not only impact biodiversity, but constitute a threat to human health,” warned the head of the WWF Species Program. Spain, Gema Rodríguez.
This closure “must be accompanied by investment in raising awareness in society to reduce the demand for these products,” as well as “great institutional and financial support in the fight against wildlife trafficking worldwide,” said Rodríguez on a platform for EFEverde.
“There is a clear relationship between this and other health crises and species trafficking,” said this conservationist leader.
According to Rodríguez, the capture and transport of thousands of specimens and their subsequent sale in local markets for human consumption “offers multiple opportunities for people to come into direct contact with wild animals or their parts, with the consequent risk of exposure to contact with viruses or other pathogens that these animals can be hosts or vectors. “
After the health emergency, he indicated, “it will be necessary to rethink the prevention and fight against future pandemics” and for this “it is essential to understand the processes that can cause this and other global epidemics that have affected us in recent years, assuming the link between the health of people, animals and ecosystems. “
“Different scientific studies have shown that when nature is altered or destroyed, natural ecosystems are weakened and the spread of pathogens is facilitated,” he stressed.
One of the greatest alterations in nature, he has lamented, is the loss of species and their populations, a situation “repeatedly denounced by WWF through the Living Planet Report”, which “has certified the 60% decrease in the average of vertebrate populations in the last 40 years. “
Among the main causes of species loss “is illegal trafficking, one of the largest illegal businesses in the world that moves between 8,000 and 20,000 million euros a year”, which “is bringing hundreds of species to the brink of extinction of animals and plants. “
“Covid-19 is a global crisis and only a global response can help prevent future new pandemics,” concluded Gema Rodríguez.
The complete rostrum is available for reading and downloading at EFEverde.com from EFE360 of the EFE Agency.