The ‘Vocab’ word for this week is ” Z O O N O S E S “
The gentle animal in the picture is not a zoonose. But today is the 50th international Earth day, a day to think about the wildlife, ecosystems and all living inhabitants of our planet – their combined health, security and long term well being. We are also in the middle of a global pandemic. The two make this word especially topical, and the picture very relevant.
Zoonoses are diseases that pass from animals to humans.
Zoonoses are also called Zoonotic diseases.
The ‘germs’ that spread zoonoses are called zoonotic pathogens. Pathogens are organisms that can cause disease in their host. The corona virus is an example.
Corona virus causes the disease COVID-19. It’s a new disease, and there is evidence that it passed from wildlife to people when they touched live animals, and handled and ate bushmeat, including pangolins and bats. The animals don’t seem to suffer from Covid-19. After the virus crossed from animal to human it then spread from person to person around the globe. Some people catch the virus and don’t get the disease, but as you will will know many do and many have died.
Pangolins are precious and delightful creatures. They are shy, mostly solitary, nocturnal and eat ants. We don’t need to remove them from their natural home. We can avoid zoonoses and zoonotic epidemics and pandemics.
Please, encourage the kids (and adults) around you to learn about the pangolin, draw them, discuss ZOONOSES and why we need to understand them, why habitat and wildlife conservation is important, why we need to ensure pangolins and other wildlife live safe and undisturbed in their natural homes, for their survival and ours.
A link to get you started – www.tusk.org/species/pangolins/