Sunday, April 14, 2024

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Covid-19 Has Severely Impacted Conservation Efforts Around the World

While most of the world is starting the recovery process, one thing has been made very clear. Conservation efforts have been severely weakened, and even undermined by many countries around the world.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), more than half of the protected areas in Africa could not maintain field patrols and anti-poaching operations during Covid-19 lockdowns.

And the situation was similar in Asia. At least a quarter of protected areas in Asia could not maintain patrols.

Unfortunately, the IUCN even found out that rangers were either having their salaries cut or they were fired. This has made it easy for poachers to enter protected areas and undermine conservation efforts.

22 Countries Are Rolling Back Protection of Natural Areas

Sadly, it is unlikely that 22 countries with areas previously under protection will receive support soon. Those countries have already decided to roll back protections in certain areas.

Some of these include the natural habitats of endangered animals.

And to make matter worse, some of these areas will become targets for the construction of roads, or oil and gas extraction. In many cases, the money to stimulate the economy is going into projects that are bad for local environments.

And the cut budgets for conservation efforts are not returning to normal.

However, it’s not all negative.

The report also found that 17 countries are either expanding or maintaining protections as they were before Covid-19. Yet, it is worth noting that many of these countries are those that did promise to invest in green projects and sustainability.

Zoos Are Struggling and Winding Down Recovery Efforts

Many zoos and aquariums play a huge role in helping animals recover from natural disasters, sickness, or man-made disasters (oil spills). Unfortunately, while these facilities were unable to open during the lockdown, many of them racked up debt in the millions.

It forced many to stop accepting new patients.

As a result, it’s much harder for rescued animals to get the help they need. In other cases, endangered animal breeding usually takes place in these facilities. Thus, they are an important component of conservation efforts.

In some instances, this also led to a decline in pay and staff members. Many of these facilities also fund or donate money to conservation efforts.

And as we have seen, this funding is vital to keeping protections in place.

Conservation Efforts Need A Stimulus Check

A healthy environment benefits humanity greatly. Covid-19 has not only impacted humans but has put a strain on protected areas that many nations are not rising to the occasion to defend.

Not only are animal protections failing, illegal logging in Brazil has become rampant during lockdown.

Animal habitats are being destroyed and replaced with projects that only make the situation worse. While some countries are improving protections, the damage done by lessening some of them is catastrophic.

One way you can help is by directly donating to animal relief efforts. Alternatively, supporting your local zoo or aquarium, if they are open, is another great way to help.

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Robert Giaquinto

Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.

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