How should we react to viruses such as covid 19? Will this finally put pressure on governments to stop poachers harvesting wild meat

In many parts of Africa and Asia and South America poor communities get virtually all their protein from wild mammal species that live nearby. As the human population increases and as people organise themselves to sell excess meat in markets this can become a threat to human life as has been shown through covid 19. 

However there are a large number of other illnesses that have probably made their way into the human population through hunting and poaching of wild animals.

It is almost certain that  HIV and AIDS entered the human population when Hunters killed infected chimps and got the virus through contact with contaminated blood.

There are two matters to be addressed here. 

  • The first health
  • The second is the survival of wild species

Hunter-gatherers have been a significant part of the human population since humans evolved. The San people of Botswana are among a large number of different groups that live very well alongside the wilderness and are simply a part of the ecosystem. Generally these community share and so they only kill what is required for the village and have been living very happily in this form for millennia.

The problem occurs in the modern day. As populations expand and the local crops cannot support the people increasingly they are turning to hunting for bushmeat in the surrounding area. In order to be able to buy other things some of this meat is then sold in markets and the more meats they can get the more money they have. However it is this process that is dangerous as it brings many different forms of meat together in one area with many different humans compressed into a small place. If any of the different meat types poor people have illnesses these are likely to be passed around.

And this is where the second of our problems comes up.

When humans are forced to look for another source of food, we generally adapt a new tool or skill to be able to hunt very efficiently whatever it is that we have chosen to harvest. However because these people are often moved into an area they upset the balance that the local people have kept for many many years. 

They also do not have the taboos that are grown up in the local population and therefore a quite willing to devastate the species that previously had been ignored. This can lead to local extinctions in unfortunate cases. Local populations really eat primates, which being extremely similar to humans are one of the species that can be of most danger to passing illnesses over. Unfortunately these new people do not have this care. Primate species breed slowly and so a new population of humans can mean the Extinction of local primates in QuickTime.

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