The COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges for conservationists working to protect endangered species, with restrictions on travel and funding shortages impacting fieldwork and conservation initiatives. However, conservationists have adapted by using remote work and virtual interventions, building partnerships with governments, and raising awareness through social media. Positive outcomes of these efforts include a reduction in illegal wildlife trafficking and conservation success stories, such as the increase in the population of endangered turtles in Thailand. Individuals can support conservation efforts by contributing to conservation-related causes, abiding by forest and wildlife regulations, and raising awareness on social media.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to a standstill, affecting people individually, collectively, and universally. It has also had an impact on the world’s biodiversity, and endangered species are facing severe consequences. Despite these challenges, conservationists have worked tirelessly to preserve the world’s flora and fauna, and there are some positive outcomes to report.
Conservationists face challenges during pandemics
Conservation challenges are not new, but during the pandemic, they have increased significantly. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), more than 30% of species face extinction. Habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, climate change and trafficking are some of the underlying factors that cause most of the animal species to be endangered.
The pandemic has made it difficult for conservationists to conduct fieldwork and carry out routine conservation practices to protect endangered species. For instance, the restriction on air travel meant that many researchers were unable to travel and relocate to study rare species. Moreover, paucity of funds meant that conservation organizations could not continue their on-ground activities to deal with the consequences of habitat loss, trafficking, and conflicts between humans and animals.
Efforts to save endangered species continue despite challenges
Despite the challenges, the pandemic has brought to conservation, experts have continued to work tirelessly to protect endangered species. Some of their efforts include the following:
1. Remote work and virtual conservation interventions – Conservationists have shifted their efforts online to study wildlife and track the movement of endangered species. In doing so, they have continued their conservation interventions, albeit restricted to virtual interventions.
2. Partnership building – Partnerships between conservation organizations and governments have increased avenues of collaboration. More funding and a better understanding of each other’s objectives have enabled conservationists to continue their work without compromising on the quality of interventions.
3. Raising awareness – Conservationists have taken to social media platforms to raise awareness about the importance of saving endangered species, their plight in a pandemic, and how individuals can make a difference in these difficult times.
Positive outcomes of pandemic-induced conservation interventions
There have been some positive outcomes of conservation efforts during the pandemic, such as the following:
1. Illegal wildlife trafficking – One of the critical conservation threats has been the illegal trade of wildlife and their parts. With travel restrictions in place, trafficking has decreased significantly in some areas.
2. Conservation success stories – As a result of increased online visibility and successful virtual interventions, some conservation organizations have seen positive interventions, such as the increase in the population of the endangered turtle species in Thailand.
3. Increased awareness – With experts promoting online content through various platforms, more individuals have become aware of the true extent of the problem and have committed resources to save endangered species.
Q: What can individuals do to save endangered species amidst the pandemic?
A: Individuals can support local conservation organizations online, raise awareness through social media channels, and pledge contributions to the various conservation-related causes. Furthermore, individuals should abide by forest and wildlife regulations, particularly during the pandemic.
Q: What has been the impact of the pandemic on illegal wildlife trafficking?
A: The pandemic brought a positive impact on illegal wildlife trafficking. With the restriction of air travel and non-essential goods transport, the traffic of wildlife decreased. It gave conservation organizations and law enforcement agencies time to reposition and reduce trafficking activities.
Q: Has there been any outcome of conservation intervention during the pandemic?
A: Some conservation organizations have seen positive intervention outcomes despite the pandemic. The example of increasing the population of sea turtles in Thailand is a testament to successful interventions and partnerships between conservation organizations and respective government entities.
It is imperative that conservation efforts continue to save endangered species, even in the midst of a pandemic. This pandemic has shown that with collaboration, innovation, and leadership, we can continue the fight to protect our biodiversity. Conservationists with the governments, communities, and indigenous peoples, have been both strong, innovative, and resilient towards safeguarding endangered species. Such efforts provide inspiration and a blueprint for the future of conservation.