Lord William Hague stressed that the illegal wildlife trade needs to be stopped at the source, proposing a three-pronged strategy, the “3 Es,” to address this issue. Entrenching, the first of the 3 Es, requires that organizations across sectors train staff, establish rules, and closely track financial flows. Hague’s strategy next calls for more government enforcement of the rules and commitments onto which they have already signed. The last of the prongs of this strategy is enfusing, entailing a series of partnerships among private, public, and civil society actors. These cross-sector partnerships would allow information that can ultimately change societal opinions to be most effectively disseminated.
Lee White brought light to the fact that the prevalence of zoonotic diseases in recent years stems from frequent human interactions with wildlife. Consumption of the infected meat of dead primates, such as chimps, has been the origin of many disease outbreaks among humans.
According to Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, COVID-19 has greatly exposed the dangers of economic dependence on eco-tourism. The virus has devastated the gorilla tourism industry in Uganda, and fears that the virus could jump to the gorilla population are widespread.
“Disease is part of biodiversity. Historically, disease has jumped from wildlife to humans. We can combat this through a combination of education, and adopting and enforcing sensible laws,” Lee White
Key takeaways & next steps:
We must do our part to operationalize Hague’s three-part strategy.
White’s team is conducting research on the various coronaviruses carried by bats in Gabon.
Gabon has introduced legislation outlawing the consumption of primates and introduced programs to educate people about the dangers of consuming wildlife.