The pandemic has already caused a spike in poaching across the world.
And conservationists have no idea how to stop this deadly phenomenon.
“We’re already seeing a spike in poaching amid the CV pandemic,” warns the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).
The recent uptick of poaching is not always the result of criminals taking advantage of an unfortunate situation.
Sometimes people are forced to make ends meet as the spread of Covid-19 continues to disrupt their normal livelihood.
With the outbreak only set to deepen economic inequality and poverty worldwide, WCS fear that the problem of poaching could grow over the coming months and years.
“Suddenly rural people have little to turn to but natural resources and we’re already seeing a spike in poaching,” reported Colin Poole, WCS regional director in the Greater Mekong.
“The continued commitment of conservationists to local people in rural areas across the region is more important than ever right now, as they have no safety net and are alone on the front line, the first and last line of defense for the forests and wildlife in and around their communities.“
Also in Europe
It isn’t just the tropics of southeast Asia that are feeling the sting. Europe has also seen cases of poachings thought to be linked to the lockdown.
WWF-Austria has reported at least 27 protected birds of prey were illegally killed in Austria recently and another three in neighboring Hungary, Czech Republic, and Slovakia.
“While public life is severely restricted and the authorities are focused on fighting the pandemic, dozens of protected animals are victims of unscrupulous criminals. This is a real scandal and endangers important nature conservation successes,” said Christina Wolf-Petre, species protection expert, WWF-Austria.
Poaching rising in Africa and funds decreasing
Over in Africa, at least six white rhinos have been poached in Botswana since the country closed its borders to stop the spread of virus and a further nine rhinos have been poached in South Africa’s North West province.
To add further salt to the wound, many conservation and anti-poaching organizations – which are perhaps needed now more than ever – say they are also suffering under the weight of the ongoing pandemic.
“We’re in a situation of zero income, and our expenses are actually going up all the time just trying to fight off the poachers and protect the reserve.
“To say it’s desperate is an understatement. We’re really in crisis here.“