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Wildlife Needs Room To Breathe—or To Just Breathe
The alarming coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China that is also considered a global problem has been traced to endangered animals slaughtered for human consumption. The Huanan seafood market in Wuhan had been closed down as it is believed to be the source of the virus, which had since killed 132 people in China. Some 6,000 people have also been infected with Wuhan having the most number of victims. The disease has also spread in other countries like the U.S., Australia, Canada, Thailand, Vietnam, among others.
The coronavirus outbreak has prompted a call for a global ban on wild animal markets. The Wuhan market had a wild animal section where people could eat slaughtered animals, a lot of which are considered endangered. Among the animals found in the market ready for cooking and consumption were bamboo rats, civets, crocodiles, foxes, golden cicadas, hedgehogs, salamanders, snakes, squirrels, turtles, and wolf pups.
There is a long history of viruses coming from wild animals. Ebola, for example, was traced to monkeys. SARS, the viral outbreak in the early 2000s that is similar to the coronavirus, was genetically traced to horseshoe bats in Yunnan, China. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, there was also a bird flu outbreak among humans. The disease, as the name suggests, originated from birds.
Preserving animal habitat
Experts are saying that there is a connection between habitat loss and emerging infectious diseases. The hypothesis is that as people destroy the environment of wild animals, disease-causing microbes that are inherent among wild animals go through diversification.
In more specific terms, a study on the rise of human malaria cases in Borneo a few years ago was linked to the rapid deforestation of the island. Malaria was found among macaques, which live across the expansive forests of Borneo. But with deforestation, the macaques were forced to live in close proximity to each other. As a result, the disease quickly spread among the macaque population. Humans who came in contact with malaria-infected macaques contracted the deadly disease and it spread rapidly among them.
This brings to light the importance of preserving animal habitats and banning animal trafficking. These are just among the important goals of Manakin Dance. The company is promoting environmental conservation through the apparel it sells. With every product purchased from Manakin Dance, 10% will be donated to the World Wildlife Fund for various environmental causes.
The company sells shirts that make a statement. The prints of the t-shirts usually point to doing one’s duty in protecting the environment. One shirt declares: I can make a difference. Another shirt states: I am change. Among the popular collection are shirts that feature animals on them. Most of these animals are labeled between vulnerable and critically endangered based on the criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Among the animals featured are jaguar, panda, orangutan, and gorilla. The T-shirts also feature the words: Give me room to breathe.
The statement is very powerful. As men try to continue disrespecting animal habitats through illegal logging, animals are making a plea: Give me room to breathe. Then behind that is another plea: Let me breathe! Aside from the loss of habitat, many wild animals are also being slaughtered for various reasons: 1) for their meat as in the case in Wuhan; 2) for their skin or fur; 3) for their medicinal properties.
They are called wild animals because they belong in the wild. China is not the only country fond of the meat of wild animals. There are also live animal markets in other parts of Asia and Africa.
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