By David Wilkie, Susan Lieberman & James Watson | October 19, 2020

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In northeastern DR Congo, as in many places around world, the forest produces a bounty of delicious and nutritious caterpillars that are a seasonally important food for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities. Photo © David Wilkie/WCS

[Note: this story was originally published at Mongabay.]

Humanity today face multiple crises. A pandemic grips societies around the globe and with each passing year greed, poor governance, and naivete push us further toward a climate change forced sixth great extinction and the collapse of ecosystems.

It may already be too late to prevent the looming catastrophe of climate change. …

By Christian Walzer & John Calvelli | October 19, 2020

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Live animal market in Bali, Indonesia. Credit: Amilia Roso Getty Images

[Note: this story was originally published at Scientific American.]

It is no small task to predict which of the hundreds of thousands of unknown pathogens existing naturally in animals will spill over to people and cause the next pandemic. But one thing is clear: A major factor driving spillover events such as the current COVID-19 pandemic is the trade in live and fresh wildlife for human consumption (whether legal or illegal).

Removing wild animals from nature and transporting them to commercial markets where the close proximity of animals and people poses a significant public health risk is a practice that can no longer be tolerated. Zoonoses-the term for infectious diseases that pass between people and animals-affect millions of people each year, with three quarters of new human pathogens identified in the past three decades originating in animals. …

International Sawfish Day

By Jamia Rahman Khan Tisa & Elisabeth Fahrni Mansur
October 17, 2020

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Like most other rays and sharks, sawfish grow very slowly and have only few offspring. Their saw makes them particularly prone to getting entangled in fishing gear. Credit: ©WCS Bangladesh

Dhaka, Bangladesh

A saw is an essential tool in carpentry, but how can a saw be used for fishing? Sawfish use electro-receptors in their long saw-shaped snout to detect their fish prey living on the bottom of the sea. Then, they trap the fish on the bottom and kill it with their saw, sometimes breaking the fish in half before eating it.

This efficient way of catching fish has allowed sawfish, or “carpenter sharks” as they are widely known, to survive on Earth for about 60 million years — surviving the mass extinction that wiped out dinosaurs. But even though sawfish outlived the dinosaurs, the question we must ask today on International Sawfish Day is whether they can survive the fishing activities of man. …


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WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.

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