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COVID-19: WWF warns against unregulated wild animal trade

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), an international non-governmental organisation, on Wednesday, December 30, 2020 warned against the dangers of unregulated wild animal trade, a year after the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

Marco Lambertini
Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International

It was scientifically proven that the Coronavirus jumped from a wild animal to a human, WWF Germany said in the report on wild animal trade in the South-East Asian Mekong region.

According to the report, more than half of some 500 markets in large cities at which wild animals are traded are located in areas with a potentially high risk of zoonosis (the transmission of disease from animals to humans).

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“Large markets with low hygiene standards where venison is sold are especially at risk of contagion via zoonosis,’’ said Stefan Ziegler from WWF Germany.

Large markets where wild animals and livestock are sold and slaughtered are common across China and South-East Asia.

WWF added that millions of wild animals are traded each year in the region, including boars and deer, but also rodents and bats, which are reservoirs for a multitude of pathogens.

After China imposed a ban on breeding wild animals for meat production in 2020, the WWF is urging some South-East Asian countries to impose stricter rules for trading wild animals and their meat to contain the danger of zoonosis.

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