WCS Policy: Preventing Epidemics and Pandemics of Zoonotic Origin

June 9, 2021

In March 2020, WCS issued a policy statement on reducing the risk of future zoonotic pandemics, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the available information on its origin. The devastation of the COVID-19 global pandemic, impacting human health, well-being, economies, and global security, is well documented and highlights the interconnections of our world.

The science is clear that pandemics of zoonotic origin such as COVID-19 are directly related to the increased human/wildlife interface caused by destruction of intact ecosystems, deforestation and forest degradation, and the role of urban markets in wild birds and mammals, and wildlife farms.

In May 2020, WCS issued a detailed, researched report on the links between ecological integrity and human health, as well as a detailed report on COVID-19 and Indigenous Peoples. These reports and statements were based on available scientific information, as well as the research and expertise of our staff and programs in more than 60 countries, and have been supplemented by papers, articles, and webinars on the topic.

Now, a year after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, we are refreshing and refining our policy statement on combating the threat of zoonotic spillover posed by wild meat markets and associated trade. Our papers on Indigenous Peoples and intact ecosystems remain current.

Read the Policy


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