The Role of the Wildlife Trade in the Spread of Zoonotic Diseases

The Role of the Wildlife Trade in the Spread of Zoonotic Diseases

Human-wildlife interactions pose a clear risk for the spread of zoonotic diseases, which are transmitted between animals and humans. While the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus driving the current pandemic have yet to be identified, the wildlife trade does heighten the threat of such outbreaks. In this discussion with Dr. Richard Thomas, head of communications for TRAFFIC, we explore the possible origins of COVID-19, the potential policy impacts for the wildlife trade after the public health crisis has abated, and the gaps in our current knowledge about zoonotic diseases.

Dr. Thomas has worked in the conservation sector for more than 20 years, first at BirdLife International, and since 2007, at TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring network. During his time at BirdLife, Dr. Thomas spearheaded that organization's public response to the H5N1 bird flu outbreak of 2006/2007. He is currently the main spokesperson at TRAFFIC on the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak and its implications for the wildlife trade. 

This webinar is supported by a joint grant from the US Department of Interior and the US Agency for International Development.

Banner image by Joël de Vriend via Unsplash

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