New York, Feb. 11, 2020 – The following statement was issued today by the Wildlife Conservation Society encouraged by the Chinese Government taking actions to strengthen wildlife protection laws and regulations and closing wet markets selling wildlife in the wake of the current outbreak of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.


Said Dr. Chris Walzer, executive director of the Wildlife Conservation Society Global Health Program:


“Preventing future zoonotic outbreaks is not about targeting one species – like pangolins, bats and snakes – but taking strong actions to ban wet markets trading in wildlife and broadly strengthening wildlife laws and regulations. We applaud The National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China for declaring on Monday that it is revising wildlife protection laws, in order to strengthen the fight to end indiscriminate hunting and consumption of wild animals.

“China is showing great leadership and we encourage other governments to follow suit. China is leading social changes for wildlife consumption and clearly showing that we can’t solve the world’s zoonotic disease challenge by targeting specific species but only by broadly strengthening wildlife laws and regulations.


“The Chinese government has made it clear -- as the Chinese people have been making clear -- the abuse of wild animal consumption as food and illegal trade in wildlife are serious threats to public health and safety issues.


“Wildlife laws in China were improved in 2016 but the government now has declared they see continuing problems that need improvement, including standards, technical procedures, supervision and inspection, law enforcement and the protection of endangered wildlife.


“We applaud this leadership and continue to call for the permanent ban on the wet markets that trade in wildlife. All evidence continues to lead to the wildlife section of the market in Wuhan where the virus was transferred from animals in humans. Markets with mixed species from the wild are an ideal incubator and must be closed in China and elsewhere.


“We encourage international conservation and public health communities to continue to provide support to China for this effort.”





Video and Q&A on Why Live Animal Markets Trading in Wildlife Need to be Permanently Banned: HERE.

WCS Statement: WCS: Chinese ban on the sale of wildlife in markets, restaurants and over e-commerce needs to be permanent

WCS Statement: WCS Calls for Closing Live Animal Markets that Trade in Wildlife in Wake of Wuhan Coronavirus Outbreak

Additional BackgroundGlobal leaders in wildlife and human health issued 10 principles – The Berlin Principles – with an urgent call to governments, academia, and civil society that all sectors need to break down barriers to ensure a united effort to prevent the emergence or resurgence of diseases that threaten humans, wildlife, and livestock.