Human, wildlife interaction to increase risk of COVID-19 outbreak

APP
April 09, 2020

Islamabad : The federal capital residents visiting trails despite the virtual lockdown in the metropolis due to coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak were at the risk of contracting virus to the...

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Islamabad : The federal capital residents visiting trails despite the virtual lockdown in the metropolis due to coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak were at the risk of contracting virus to the wildlife.

The Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) officials told APP that residents were flouting the lockdown and visiting the trails at Margalla Hills National Park.

“The IWMB staff and rangers are on duty and taking adequate measures to stop people hiking at trails but the veteran hikers and local people familiar with secret short routes enter the National Park from various other locations.

“He added that Islamabad Capital Territory Police constables were also deployed at the entrances of all the trails to ensure no public entrance into the National Park.

According to a research published in the Guardian, since humans have encroached wildlife habitats the natural habitat dwelling animals had adapted well to human-dominated environments which lead them share more viruses with people.

The report said, “Rodents, bats and primates,’ which often live among people, and close to houses and farms together were implicated as hosts for nearly 75 per cent of all viruses.

“The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, found that the spillover risk was highest from threatened and endangered wild animals whose populations had declined largely due to hunting, the wildlife trade and loss of habitat, the Guardian reported.

“Human encroachment into biodiverse areas increases the risk of spillover of novel infectious diseases by enabling new contacts between humans and wildlife,” it said.

It merits mention here that monkeys fall in the category of primate species and were prone to catch virus more rapidly than others and were frequently spotted in the Margalla Hills National Park.

The visitors and hikers visiting the Park were also found sharing food items to the monkeys.

It was already hazardous for their health and in the prevailing scenario had increased the risk of contacting COVID-19.



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