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Project October 24, 2022

When the Forests Fall Silent

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Audrey Tan
Southeast Asia RJF Advisory Committee Member

The COVID-19 pandemic, which likely spawned from a wildlife market, has highlighted how human and planetary health intertwine. The outbreak prompted some countries to re-evaluate their relationship with nature. But in Southeast Asia, forests are still being emptied of birds, reptiles and small mammals. Some of these animals are sold in local markets for consumption, while some are taken for other industries, such as to feed the exotic pet trade or for civet coffee. This not only has implications for future disease outbreaks, but also for the health of the rainforest—a habitat increasingly valued for its ability to soak up planet-warming carbon dioxide.


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