A human and an animal changed global health. The inextricable linkages that exist between the health of habitats, animals that reside there, and the impact humans have on our planet are now starkly visible as we react to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the most pressing threats to our global health is the illegal wildlife trade constituting a multi-billion-dollar black market.
Around the world, the demand for trafficked and often endangered species creates new vectors for the next potential pandemic. Woodland Park Zoo works to end wildlife trafficking through advocacy and education. In our home state, we helped lead the effort to pass I-1401, a voter initiative prohibiting the sale of items from listed species. Thanks to this law, prosecutions have already disrupted trafficking networks in our state. In 2019, Woodland Park Zoo hosted “Toss the Tusk” in partnership with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to provide a resource for our community to dispose of any wildlife products from the community that are now illegal to sell, with no questions asked. We accepted more than 500 items, removing them from the marketplace forever.
As part of our mission to save species and inspire everyone to make conservation a priority in their lives, Woodland Park Zoo worked with the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife to launch “One Wild World” a series of three episodes examining the linkages between the health of humans, habitats and animals. Bringing together leaders from around the world who are working to stop illegal wildlife trafficking, “One Wild World” provides actions anyone can take when traveling or sorting through possessions made from animal parts, helping end the black market for illegally trafficked wildlife. By examining the intersection of human and animal health with experts from Woodland Park Zoo, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the University of Washington and many others, viewers will gain a front row look into how the global black market for trafficked wildlife poses threats to the health of habitats, animals, and humans. The devastation to endangered species targeted by wildlife traffickers can be hard to measure and even harder to prevent, especially during a global pandemic. As the world navigates the COVID-19 crisis, our third episode “One Wild World: One Health: How a Human and an Animal Changed Global Health” provides analysis from regional and international experts about the connection between global health and the pandemic, conservation and culture, and wildlife trafficking.
Woodland Park Zoo’s “One Wild World” series features Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Chief Environmental Officer for Microsoft Lucas Joppa, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Outreach and Education Specialist Levi Novey, among many other global experts in wildlife trafficking prevention. These experts describe their work to stop poachers, wildlife traffickers and black markets dealing in illegal animal parts. Tapping into Woodland Park Zoo’s vast network of conservation partners working around the world, this series provides insights from those who are doing the work to stop trafficking at its source.