Covid-19 an opportunity to rethink humanity’s relationship with wildlife, nature

A photo of a species of monkey in the wild. Photo credit: Pixabay

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By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, April 25: The Covid-19 pandemic worldwide will have its effect on the way people treat wildlife, opined Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) chief executive officer (CEO) Zolkipli Mohamad Aton.

According to him, examining the cause of the Covid-19 virus, many scientists and naturalists believed that wildlife is best left as they are.

“The world realised now that wildlife should be best left alone. This will allow the equilibrium of nature slowly heal itself back to normal as far as possible,” Zolkipli told DayakDaily here today.

Zolkipli, who is also State Controller of Wild Life, pointed out that whichever animals that may have caused the Covid-19 virus, it should be a lesson that must be learnt by humans not to treat wildlife as mere food.

“Wild animals are known to be carrier of certain diseases but may not cause the animal to be sick when it is in a healthy environment.

“When wild animals are kept in captivity or living in disturbed or poor habitats, they will become very stressful and get sick from diseases that they are carrying. These diseases known as zoonotic diseases may spread to human,” he said.

He cited the example of monkeys in Sarawak which were known to be carrier of monkey malaria.

“Monkey malaria can and does spread to human when monkeys are sick when stressed,” he added.

Zolkipli reiterated that nature at its best should be when human can coexist with wildlife in its natural habitats and not seen as mere food.

“In Borneo, hunting has always been a way of life of the native people but they only hunt for self-consumption. However, this has changed with wildlife being hunted for trade which led to the decreasing number of wildlife.

“That’s why the state government enacted the Wild Protection Ordinance, 1998 and putting a ban on trade of wildlife taken from the wild to conserve our wildlife.

“In the long run, it will benefit the people especially the natives as the resources will not be depleted or over-harvested as well as ensuring that wildlife does not become extinct in the wild,” he emphasised.

Zolkipli thus sought the cooperation of all to help conserve wildlife in Sarawak.— DayakDaily