The impact of Covid-19 on global wildlife has been both positive and negative, but now the lack of funding threatens to undo decades of conservation work.
UK-based wildlife charity People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) warns that wildlife conservation – both within the UK and internationally – is in danger of being forgotten during the Covid-19 pandemic, and that decades of conservation work could be undone through neglect and unintended consequences.
Over the last 40 years PTES has awarded £7.5 million to conservation research, supporting over 200 species in more than 60 countries. PTES and its partners – leading conservation organisations and individuals worldwide – are investigating the most effective conservation actions, giving endangered species across the globe a chance of survival.
But this was before Covid-19. Now, with no almost no new or emergency funding available, international travel bans and border restrictions in place, many conservation projects around the world are either on-hold or are simply firefighting. What’s more, many communities that usually depend on ecotourism now have no income, so are forced to resort to poaching. Wildlife already on the brink of extinction is now at even greater risk of being lost.
Nida Al-Fulaij, Grants Manager at PTES, explains: “Covid-19 has had an unprecedented impact on every aspect of life, and while the toll on human health, global economies and education is catastrophic, we mustn’t forget about the world’s most vulnerable species too. Species such as Asian elephants and giant anteaters, already in trouble before Covid-19, now hang in the balance if we don’t act quickly.”