Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

To Prevent Future Pandemics, Protect Nature

All six of the most recent pandemics have been linked to destructive human activities like deforestation, climate change and the wildlife trade


November 2, 2020

When natural places are destroyed, wildlife are exposed to humans at the edges of their habitat, and they can expand their territories into urban areas, increasing the likelihood of contact with humans. ( Wakx via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 2.0)

Yesterday, an international group of scientists issued a warning: Without major steps to protect Earth's land and wildlife, Covid-19 won't be the last pandemic in our lifetimes. A new report chronicles how human activities, like habitat destruction and wildlife trade, increase the likelihood that humans are exposed to new diseases, reports Sarah Gibbens for National Geographic.

The report, compiled by 22 experts and citing more than 600 studies, was published yesterday by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). It details how the human-driven destruction of the planet has increased the risk of contracting new diseases, and it provides recommendations for how to prevent future outbreaks.

The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 likely originated in an animal, but which species and where will be hard to confirm, reported David Cyranoski for Nature in June. No matter the origin, it's not the only deadly virus that's jumped from wildlife to humans. Humans contracted HIV from chimps, which likely got it from other monkeys; wild and domesticated birds have been targeted a culprits of the 1918 flu pandemic; and Nipah virus was transmitted from fruit bats to domesticated animals to humans.


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