As COVID-19 advances across the world, over three million people have now been infected.
Many more will come.
This pandemic has crashed global economies, killed hundreds of thousands of people, put millions into unemployment and billions into lockdown.
It is the crisis of our times.
While we come to terms with the swift and uncomfortable changes to the life we recently knew, the actual source of this pandemic is being overlooked, and we believe it could have been prevented.
Coronavirus evolved in the wet markets of Asia, where many wild animal species are held in close quarters and killed on demand for waiting customers. Such markets exist all over the world and have already been identified as key settings for future devastating viruses.
A primary focus on preventing future pandemics is the shutting down of these wet markets.
But incremental closures of markets here and there won’t cut it in the longer term, we must stop wildlife reaching the markets in the first place.
Prevention is always better than cure.
Once wildlife is in the markets, legal or illegal, it’s too late.
The International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) has trained or supported wildlife rangers which help protect over 20 million acres of wilderness – home to billions of animals of all shapes and sizes. Animals that could easily have ended up in wet markets. Animals such as pangolins that could harbour another pandemic for humans.
There is no risk-free trade in wildlife, whether for food, traditional medicine, clothing or ornaments.
Potentially fatal viruses are in the wild now, and with the right conditions, will transmit to humans again.
Alarming research forecasts that the frequency and intensity of these devastating viruses will only amplify. How long before the next pandemic hits, no-one can say.
The underlying circumstances that made the outbreak of this COVID-19 pandemic possible still exist, but we believe it could have been prevented.
Every one of us feels like this pandemic is ‘bigger’ than us – an invisible enemy that is impossible to see or overcome. But together, we create a undeniable voice for change.
There is a clear and compelling need to shut down all trafficking of wildlife.
Once animals are in the market place, it is too late. The supply chain needs to be stopped at the source, saving wildlife as well as human lives. Wildlife rangers may just stop the next pandemic.
This is the job of wildlife rangers, who are now, not only the first and last line of defence for nature, but also humanity.
By training and deploying more instructors and more rangers we CAN help prevent the spread of such diseases, but we need your help.
With so many feeling helpless right now, we have created this ‘open letter to humanity’ to help give you back some control.
We all have a role to play, a voice to use and we want you to know that your voice is being heard.
By lending your voice to ours, we grow our ability to influence change on the ground.
With your support, we can lobby governments and leaders with more conviction for change and collabourate with like-minded conservation organisations on vital life-saving projects.
And most importantly, we want you to know you are an essential part of an established grass roots movement that is actively working to prevent further pandemics, by protecting wildlife and their natural habitats, where they belong.
Please add your signature now to stop pandemics at the source, by helping us stop wildlife trafficking.
With warm wishes for your health and safety,
Founder & CEO