A lot has changed since March. Large events and gatherings have been postponed until further notice. Not to mention, we have had to adjust to schools and workplaces going digital.
People have had to learn how to adjust to new ways of living. The wildlife is no exception! This year we have seen changes in both animals in zoos and the wild. Take a look at the impact of coronavirus on nature and how you can help!
The increased risk of poaching
From the African Savannahs to Asian jungles, wildlife has been impacted by this pandemic. The lockdown requirements and fly restrictions have put a pause for tourists and elephant conservation groups to visit wildlife sanctuaries.
This is a large problem because parks get some of their funds from tourism. Without it, many parks have limited budgets and staff. These uncertain times are tough in these regions because of poverty.
People could have lost their jobs due to this pandemic. The lack of employment and source of income could lead people to rely on extremes, like poaching. This is a serious problem because some species populations are already declining. Poaching could push species into the verge of extinction.
For example, poachers kill elephants for their tusks that are used for ivory. Currently, African elephants are listed as vulnerable and Asian elephants are listed as endangered. There are an estimated 415,000 African elephants and 20,000 to 40,000 Asian elephants left in the wild.
Species returning to their national habitats
As stated above, tourism has been halted by this global pandemic. Many tourist parks and wildlife sanctuaries do not see any visitors and find it too expensive to keep wild animals. One of those animals includes the Asian elephants of Thailand.
These animals have huge appetites that have become too expensive for their owners. Elephants are herbivores, but they require up to 300 pounds of food every single day. Many of the Asian elephant owners have released the elephant's back to their natural habitats. Some of these elephants even walked as far as 93 miles to get back home.
Elephant conservation groups like Save Elephants have been encouraging tourist parks to let elephants return to their natural habitats. The elephants in the wild would become more self-sufficient and have enough food.
Lacks of funds for zoos
The impact of coronavirus on nature goes beyond just the wild, but also in zoos and aquariums. Zoo animals have been as well. Due to the shutdown, more than 200 major U.S. zoos and aquariums ticket sales have decreased. Although everything was closed, these organizations still needed funds for food, water, heating and veterinary care.
Zoos go beyond just taking care of their animals. They also play an essential role in wildlife conservation efforts. U.S. zoos do breeding programs to help the endangered species recover, which some have been paused due to COVID-19. Not to mention, they also rehabilitate animals so that they can return to their natural habitats.
Donate to save the elephants
Even through a global pandemic, elephant conservation groups do not stop. The For Elephants, INC. team continues to do research to determine the best care for elephants in zoos.
Sadly, COVID-19 has taken 90 percent of our funding. We invite you to donate to our research to help us continue serving the elephants in care. Donate here.