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Legal / Regulatory

April 06, 2020 - BBC

Coronavirus: Putting the spotlight on the global wildlife trade

Coronavirus: Putting the spotlight on the global wildlife trade
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Conservation experts say the coronavirus pandemic, which likely originated at a market selling wild animals in China, is a watershed moment for curbing the global wildlife trade, which can drive extinction and spread disease.

When Adam Peyman walked into a restaurant in Vietnam to order a meal he was shocked to find wild animals, including threatened species, on the menu, alongside traditional rice, noodles and seafood. Sting ray, porcupine, softshell turtle, wild pig and wild goat were all on offer. "It was a bit of a surprise to see these foods," says the wildlife manager for the animal welfare organisation, Humane Society International. "But, these kinds of wild foods are considered something of a luxury." Feasting on exotic game has become a sign of status and wealth in some Asian countries. The desire for wildlife as food or medicine drives a trade in wild animals, some procured illegally, creating a breeding ground for disease and the chance for viruses to leap to humans.

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