Wildlife & Biodiversity

Global Eco Watch: Major ecological happenings of the week (February 3 – 9, 2020)

Down To Earth brings you the top happenings in the world of global ecology

By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Sunday 09 February 2020
Photo: Adam Tusk / Flickr

Coronavirus: Revenge of the pangolin?

Chinese scientists on February 7, 2020, said they had found the ‘missing link’ for the transfer of the novel coronavirus from bats to humans: the pangolin.

Scientists at the South China Agricultural University in Guangdong province tested more than 1,000 samples from wild animals. They found the genome sequences of viruses found in pangolins to be 99 per cent identical to those on coronavirus patients, according to media reports.

According to latest studies, the novel coronavirus is carried by bats. However, to jump from bats to humans, it needs another host. According to the Chinese study, the pangolin could be that host.

The most trafficked animal in the world, the pangolin is particularly prized in China nad other parts of Asia for its scales and meat.

However, other scientists have advised caution, stating that the results of the Chinese study should be reviewed by scientists across the world first.

China to continue crackdown on illegal wildlife trade

China will continue its clampdown on the illegal wildlife trade in its territory, a state official said on February 8, 2020, amid reports that have pointed to wild animals as being the source of the novel coronavirus.

Yang Hongcan, an official with the State Administration for Market Regulation, said China had already suspended the trading of wild animals nationally to curb the spread of coronavirus, a report by Xinhua said.

The official added that from January 21 to February 6, Chinese market regulators paid 1.5 million inspection visits to markets across the country. Over 3,700 markets and operators have been closed for rectification, while more than 16,000 breeding sites have been cordoned off, controlled and isolated.

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