Preventing Pandemics through Biodiversity Conservation and Smart Wildlife Trade Regulation

Addressing vulnerability and promoting security
Posted Feb 17, 2021 | Brookings Institution, Vanda Felbab-Brown

The COVID-19 outbreak reinforces the imperative to minimize the chances of another zoonotic pandemic. Vanda Felbab-Brown argues in this article for the Brookings Institution that this requires us to minimize human interface with wild animals and wild spaces; eliminating transmission points where the likelihood of viral spillover to humans is high, such as unhygienic commercial markets in wild animal meat and live animals; better monitoring of the legal trade in wildlife; diligently suppressing illegal and unsustainable trade in wildlife; and conserving natural habitats. To preserve habitats and wildlife and keep them wild and separate from humans to minimize zoogenic viral spillover, global demand for some wildlife products, not just wild meat, but also some products used in traditional Chinese medicine must be reduced. This requires a fundamental restructuring of how nature is treated.


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