News Releases


Wildlife Health and Health Policy


Has Vietnam banned the wildlife trade to curb the risk of future pandemics?
On July 23rd 2020 the Vietnamese Government released Prime Minister’s Directive No. 29 on urgent solutions to manage wildlife. This has been largely reported in the global media as a widespread ban on wildlife trade in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Wildlife Conservation Society welcomes the Prime Minister’s Directive and the renewed attention it will bring to combating illegal trade and consumption of wildlife. However, there are a number of points that have been mis-reported in the global media and areas we think require greater attention to reduce the risks of future zoonotic pathogen outbreaks
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The Wildlife Conservation Society commends the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other organizations for bringing more awareness and science to zoonoses issues in the report, “Preventing the Next Pandemic: Zoonotic diseases and how to break the chain of transmission.” 
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Viruses from Field to Fork: Study Finds That Wildlife Supply Chains for Human Consumption Increase Coronaviruses’ Spillover Risk to People

A new study found that animals sampled in the wildlife-trade supply chain bound for human consumption had high proportions of coronaviruses, and that the proportion of positives significantly increases as animals travel from traders, to large markets, to restaurants.

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New WCS Special Report Shows Links between Degradation of Ecological Integrity and Emerging Infectious Diseases

A WCS special report shows how degradation of ecological systems has significantly increased the overall risk of zoonotic disease outbreaks and has other complex effects on human health.

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End the Trade: New Coalition Invites Global Community to Take a Stand Against Future Pandemics
The global trade in wild animals has produced the conditions for disastrous and deadly pandemics, including COVID-19. To prevent the next pandemic, the Coalition to End the Trade is calling for the permanent end to the commercial trade and sale in markets of terrestrial animals for consumption, particularly birds and mammals. 
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COVID-19 is a disease caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.  Although COVID-positive people can infect tigers and lions in zoos by close contact involved with caring for them, cats are not easily infected, and SARS-CoV-2 is not known to occur in any population of any wild cat species in nature. It is extremely unlikely that wild cats can transmit the virus that causes COVID-19 to humans.
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An excerpt from testimony by Dr. Christian Walzer, Executive Director of WCS’s Health Programs, who is speaking today before the bipartisan leadership of the International Conservation Caucus.

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COVID-19 FUELING AN UPTICK IN POACHING: Three Critically Endangered Giant Ibis – Cambodia’s National Bird – Killed in Protected Area

In a single deliberate poisoning event, three Giant Ibis, equivalent to 1-2 percent of the global population, have been killed – part of a disturbing global trend where conservationists are noticing increases in hunting of protected species since the spread of coronavirus began to disrupt traditional economic and social systems in rural areas.

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The bipartisan leadership of the International Conservation Caucus will convene a Virtual Briefing on Wednesday, April 15, 2020 at 3:00 PM EDT to examine links between the commercial trade and consumption of wildlife and disease outbreaks such as COVID-19, SARS, HIV, and Ebola, and to consider steps the United States can take to prevent future pandemics.
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PREDICT Receives Extension for COVID-19 Pandemic Emergency Response

PREDICT will provide emergency support to other countries for outbreak response including technical support for early detection of SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease COVID-19, through a six-month extension from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), effective April 1.

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