Impacts of COVID-19 on wildlife and wildlife economies in Africa

Editors: Elizabeth Gitari-Mitaru and Sue Snyman

 

In response to the current COVID-19 global pandemic, our Conservation MBA alumni and current students met in 
a webinar to discuss the impacts of the pandemic on wildlife and wildlife economies in Africa. 
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Towards the end of December last year the Chinese city of Wuhan Reported the first case of a novel virus, now known as COVID-19 (C19). Over the last 3 months, the virus has spread exponentially to all parts of the world. The world has over 1,000,000 confirmed cases of the virus and over 45,000 deaths with Africa reporting slightly over 6,000 cases (early April 2020). Countries such as Italy and Spain, being the hardest hit, instituted total lockdowns of their populations. Countries across Africa have instituted protocols to protect their populations from widespread exposure to the virus. South Africa, Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda have instituted total lockdowns and restricted all movement other than completely essential movements, Kenya and Tanzania have instituted dusk to dawn curfews and closed all their malls and entertainment centres. The majority of the population and all sectors have been affected by the work from home order. 

 

We have seen conservationists and conservation organizations across the world and indeed in Africa pull back both human and natural resources from critical programs in a bid to play their part in curbing the spread of the virus. This means that the dialling down of economic and social engagements and the enforcement of lockdowns and curfews will have both negative and positive consequences on conservation across the continent.  

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