Protecting nature vital in preventing next pandemic

More wildlife-human contact due to man's activities may lead to spillover of diseases

Sea lions making themselves comfortable near the Mar del Plata harbour in Argentina last April during a Covid-19 lockdown, as the absence of people on the streets emboldened animals worldwide to infiltrate the urban landscape.
Sea lions making themselves comfortable near the Mar del Plata harbour in Argentina last April during a Covid-19 lockdown, as the absence of people on the streets emboldened animals worldwide to infiltrate the urban landscape. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
A boy watching as a wild boar family roamed a neighbourhood of Haifa in Israel last April when people stayed home amid Covid-19 restrictions.
A boy watching as a wild boar family roamed a neighbourhood of Haifa in Israel last April when people stayed home amid Covid-19 restrictions. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
An alligator that fell victim as wildfires raged last September in Brazil, exacerbated by a historic drought.
An alligator that fell victim as wildfires raged last September in Brazil, exacerbated by a historic drought. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Smoke rising from an illegally lit fire in August last year in Brazil. The record number of wildfires in the nation last year is a blow to biodiversity in the Amazon rainforest, which also saw more illicit logging and mining as monitoring and enforce
Smoke rising from an illegally lit fire in August last year in Brazil. The record number of wildfires in the nation last year is a blow to biodiversity in the Amazon rainforest, which also saw more illicit logging and mining as monitoring and enforcement efforts were cut back because of Covid-19. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

As people stayed home amid the global Covid-19 lockdowns early last year, the streets and town centres became play areas and hunting grounds for droves of animals.

In March, a gang of Kashmiri goats ventured into a Welsh town, hopping over brick walls and nibbling at hedges.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2021, with the headline 'Protecting nature vital in preventing next pandemic'. Print Edition | Subscribe