Renowned conservationist Jane Goodall, who is well known for her research in Africa, has said that disregard for nature has caused the coronavirus pandemic. She said this should be a wake-up call against the human disregard for nature and animals.
Prior to the release of her National Geographic documentary "Jane Goodall: The Hope", the 86-year-old told a news agency that everyone can make a difference. Goodall said it was already a known fact that a pandemic like the novel coronavirus could occur as similar virus jumps have happened between animals to humans. SARS and Covid-19 are being traced back to China and experts suggest that the jump happened between bats and humans with pangolins as the intermediary animal.
Goodall has 60 years of experience in field research and is best known for her research on the true nature of chimpanzees.
Not just from wet markets
Goodall believes that loss of habitat and intensive farming are the reasons behind the easy spread of such viruses among animals and then to humans. As forests disappear, animals come in close contact with each other and humans which in turn can cause the onset of such viruses. In an interview with AFP, she talked about the nature of wet markets and the closure of the markets in several places.
She noted that although it was possible to close down the sale of bushmeat at least during the pandemic in China, it would be difficult to close down the business in Africa as many rely on this meat for business in the continent.
Banning the sale of bushmeat in Africa could affect families and drive them to poor living conditions. She said there needs to be careful thinking on how to stop the sale of the meat in the Africas. She asked people to start thinking about the consequences of the choices they make during the lockdown.
Goodall's views on how wildlife conservation could lead to stoppage of the jump of viruses from animals to humans have been widely appreciated. Virus expert Peter Duszak said the human spillover of the novel coronavirus was caused by bats from Chinese wildlife.
Dr Andrew Peters, an associate professor in wildlife health and pathology at Charles Sturt University, backed Goodall's views. He told ABC network: "There's going to be an intense focus on the wet markets in China as a focus for human spill-over of viruses from wildlife, and that's rightfully so."