WWF Calls to End Trade and Consumption of Wildlife in the Region

AKP Phnom Penh, March 03, 2020 —

WWF Asia Pacific offices, including that in Cambodia, have so far call the need to end the trade and consumption of wildlife in the region as COVID-19 has been believed to spread to humans by wild animal consumption, according to a WWF’s statement.

“WWF offices in the region called on the countries of East and Southeast Asia to follow suit to safeguard people’s lives and health. The current emergence and spread of COVID-19, as well as SARS, MERS and other similar viral outbreaks in recent history, has highlighted the threat posed by the eating of wild meat and the wildlife trade to human health. However, as the current viral epidemic has also shown, action in one country is not enough”, it underlined.

The national, regional and global cost of COVID-19 is running into billions of dollars and the economic impact will be felt for years to come. Action must be taken now before the next epidemic emerges, causing more human suffering and death.

Southeast Asia, including Cambodia have long been a source for wildlife products, as well as a transit hub for wildlife products on their way to China. Wild meat consumption – which can result in dangerous pathogens for which humans have no immunity being transmitted from animals to people – is also very common in the region, as it is in China. In order to address this public health issue, namely the consumption and transit of wild animals, we call on the relevant Ministries responsible for wildlife protection and public health to combine their capacity and resources to increase market inspections, reach out to the public, and stop the sale and consumption of wild meat and other wildlife products.

During past epidemics that originated in wildlife markets, containment of infected individuals has been the primary approach, said Ron (Ryuji) Tsutsui, CEO of WWF Japan and Chairperson of “Asia Pacific Growth Strategy”, WWF CEO’s group in Asia Pacific.

“China’s decision to deal with the source of the problem – permanently closing markets and banning the eating of wild meat – is a game changer. All Asian governments need to follow this example in the interest of human health, as well as the conservation of wildlife.

By Khan Sophirom