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THE GLOBAL INFORMATION AND SOLUTIONS NETWORK FOR SUSTAINABLE GASTRONOMY

THE GLOBAL INFORMATION AND SOLUTIONS NETWORK FOR SUSTAINABLE GASTRONOMY

‘Promiscuous treatment of nature’ will lead to more pandemics – scientists

Habitat destruction forces wildlife into human environments, where new diseases flourish.

Humanity’s “promiscuous treatment of nature” needs to change or there will be more deadly pandemics such as Covid-19, warn scientists who have analysed the link between viruses, wildlife and habitat destruction.

Deforestation and other forms of land conversion are driving exotic species out of their evolutionary niches and into manmade environments, where they interact and breed new strains of disease, the experts say.

Three-quarters of new or emerging diseases that infect humans originate in animals, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but it is human activity that multiplies the risks of contagion.

A growing body of research confirms that bats – the origin of Covid 19 – naturally host many viruses which they are more likely transfer to humans or animals if they live in or near human-disturbed ecosystems, such as recently cleared forests or swamps drained for farmland, mining projects or residential projects.

In the wild, bats are less likely to transfer the viruses they host to other animals or come into contact with new pathogens because species tend to specialise within distinct and well-established habitats. But once land is converted to human use, the probability increases of contact and viruses jumping zoonotically from one species to another.

Read the rest here: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/may/07/promiscuous-treatment-of-nature-will-lead-to-more-pandemics-scientists

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