REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202102.0416.v1
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology Keywords: zoo animals; visitor attitudes; wildlife encounters; wildlife tourism; selfie
Online: 18 February 2021 (12:13:24 CET)
In the twenty-first century– an era of increasing domestic and international tourism- there are boundless opportunities to encounter wild animals both in their home countries and ex situ in zoological facilities around the world. Tourism activity– especially at accredited zoos and sanctuaries –plays a crucial role in the conservation of wild animal populations, and influences the welfare of individuals within involved species. Unfortunately, not all zoos and sanctuaries prioritize the conservation and welfare of their animals, such as those who promote irresponsible and mutually-harmful visitor-animal encounters for economic profit. While the relationship between visitors and animals at zoological facilities has shifted over time to match evolving morals and sentiments towards animals, there is still a storied tendency of visitors preferring close encounters with charismatic wild species. Since the 1970s, researchers’ attention has increasingly focused on assessing the influence of the visitor effect, which refers to the impact that viewing, touching, feeding, holding, and riding captive wildlife has on the animals. Many wildlife attractions promote such encounters, despite research suggesting that close interactions with visitors can cause stress and harm to involved species. Such activities are further promoted through the “selfie tourism” phenomenon, in which visitors capture images of themselves in too-close proximity to wild animals to be shared on social media. In this commentary, we consider the challenge of “selfie tourism”, and how it can promote unethical relationships between humans and wildlife and lead to deleterious implications for the animals’ conservation and welfare.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201904.0123.v1
Online: 10 April 2019 (09:35:16 CEST)
Social media has become a powerful tool for spreading information and awareness campaigns on environmental issues, especially as they pertain to the conservation of wild animals. It is a double-edged sword, however, since it also facilitates the legal and illegal trade of wild animal species as well as the propagation of ‘wild animal selfies.’ This review presents some key literature to date which concerns the impact of social media on public perceptions of animals (such as through ‘viral’ videos), changing trends in animal encounters at wildlife tourism destinations, and the wildlife trade as it is facilitated by social media. Finally, avenues for future research are suggested with urgency, since the impact of social media on the welfare and conservation of wild animal species is most likely underestimated yet bears serious consequences.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0141.v1
Subject: Biology, Animal Sciences & Zoology Keywords: mammals; wildlife; SARS-CoV-2; human-to-wildlife transmission; COVID-19
Online: 8 May 2020 (09:56:01 CEST)
It has been a long time since the world has experienced a pandemic with such a rapid devastating impact as the current COVID-19 pandemic. The causative agent, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is further unusual in that it appears capable of infecting many different mammal species. As a significant proportion of people worldwide are infected with SARS-CoV-2 and may spread the infection unknowingly before symptoms occur or without any symptoms ever occurring, there is a non-negligible risk of humans spreading SARS-CoV-2 to wildlife, in particular mammals. Because of SARS-CoV-2’s evolutionary origins in bats and reports of humans transmitting the virus to pets and zoo animals, regulations for prevention of human-to-animal transmission have so far focused mostly on these animal groups. Here, we summarize recent studies and reports that show that a wide range of distantly related mammals are likely susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 and that susceptibility or resistance to the virus is in general not predictable, or only to some extent, by phylogenetic proximity to known susceptible or resistant hosts. In the absence of solid evidence on the SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility/resistance for each of the >5,500 mammal species, we argue that sanitary precautions should be taken when interacting with any mammal species in the wild. Preventing human-to-wildlife SARS-CoV-2 transmission is important for protecting these (sometimes endangered) animals from disease, but also to avoid establishment of novel SARS-CoV-2 reservoirs in wild animals. The risk of repeated re-infection of humans from such a wildlife reservoir could severely hamper SARS-CoV-2 control efforts. For wildlife fieldworkers interacting directly or indirectly with mammals, we recommend sanitary precautions such as physical distancing, wearing face masks and gloves, and frequent decontamination, which are very similar to regulations currently imposed to prevent transmission among humans.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201808.0104.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Economics Keywords: land use planning; agriculture; crop damage; Game Management Areas; human-wildlife conflict; wildlife; Zambia
Online: 6 August 2018 (09:34:56 CEST)
Damage to crops from wildlife interference is a common threat to food security among rural communities in or near Game Management Areas (GMAs) in Zambia. This study uses a two-stage econometric model and cross-sectional data from a survey of 2,769 households to determine the impact of land use planning on the probability and extent of wildlife-inflicted crop damage. The results show that crop damage is higher in GMAs as compared to non-GMAs, and that land use planning could be an effective tool to significantly reduce the likelihood of such damage. These findings suggest that there is merit in the current drive to develop and implement land use plans as means to minimize human-wildlife conflict such as crop damage. This is especially critical as Zambian conservation policies do not have an explicit provision for compensation in the event of damage from wildlife.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202111.0290.v1
Online: 16 November 2021 (13:32:37 CET)
Arboviruses have two ecological transmission cycles, sylvatic and urban. For some, the sylvatic cycle has not been thoroughly described in America. To study the role of wildlife in a putative sylvatic cycle, we sampled free-ranging bats and birds in two arbovirus endemic locations and analyzed them using molecular, serological, and histological methods. No current infection was detected, and no significant arbovirus-associated histological changes were observed. Neutralizing antibodies were detected against selected arboviruses. In bats, positivity in 34.95% for DENV-1, 16.26% for DENV-2, 5.69% for DENV-3, 4.87% for DENV-4, 2.43% for WNV, 4.87% for SLEV, 0,81% for YFV, 7.31% for EEEV, and 0.81% for VEEV was found. Antibodies against ZIKV were not detected. In birds, PRNT results were positive against WNV in 0.80%, SLEV in 5.64%, EEEV in 8.4%, and VEEV in 5.63%. An additional retrospective PRNT analysis was performed using bat samples from three additional DENV endemic sites resulting in a 3.27% prevalence for WNV and 1.63% for SLEV. Interestingly one sample resulted unequivocally WNV positive confirmed by serum titration. These results suggest that free-ranging bats and birds are exposed to not currently reported hyperendemic-human infecting Flavivirus and Alphavirus, however, their role as reservoirs or hosts is still undetermined.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202210.0309.v1
Subject: Biology, Ecology Keywords: Wildlife monitoring; UAV; unmanned aerial vehicle; aerial survey; population ecology; conservation biology; animal behavior; wildlife management
Online: 20 October 2022 (11:35:55 CEST)
Drones equipped with thermal cameras have recently become readily available, broadening the possibilities for monitoring wildlife. The European hare (Lepus europaeus) is a nocturnal mammal that is closely monitored in Denmark due to populations declining since the mid-1900s. The limitations of current population assessment methods, such as spotlight counts and hunting game statistics, could be overcome by relying on drone surveys with thermal imaging for population counts. The aim of this study was to investigate the use of a DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced drone with thermal imaging as a tool for monitoring the Danish hare population. Multiple test flights were conducted over agricultural areas in Denmark in spring 2022, testing various flight altitudes, camera settings, and recording methods. The test flights were used to suggest a method for identifying and counting hare. The applied use of this methodology was then evaluated through a case survey that had the aim of identifying and counting hare over an agricultural area of 242 ha. Hare could be detected with thermal imaging at flight altitudes up to 80 m and it was possible to fly as low as 40 m without observing direct behavior changes. Thermal images taken at these altitudes also provided enough detail to differentiate between species and animal body size proved to be a good species indicator. The case study confirmed the use of thermal imaging based drone surveys to identify hare and conduct population counts, thus, indicating the suggested methodology as a viable alternative to traditional counting methods.
DATA DESCRIPTOR | doi:10.20944/preprints201908.0232.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: citizen science; crowdsourced data; ecotourism; natural Resource management; social media; photo-elicitation; photovoice; wildlife conservation; wildlife tourism
Online: 22 August 2019 (11:32:08 CEST)
This data descriptor summarizes the process applied and data gathered from 50 publications/papers reporting on the use of photography generated by tourists, tour operators and members of the public, with a particular focus on the crowdsourcing of photographs through online platforms and social networking sites (SNSs) as a method of research for wildlife conservation and ecotourism. The papers were collected in a systematic literature review to inform a pilot study of the feasibility of using SNSs to crowdsource georeferenced photographs of endangered Bornean Pygmy Elephants (Elephas maximus borneensis) taken by ecotourists along the Lower Kinabatangan River region of Sabah, Malaysia. Papers were sourced using the Murdoch University Findit online-search tool to search over 100 databases, including Proquest, Scopus and Web of Science. The criteria for a paper to be included in the review (and shared via the dataset attached to this this data descriptor) were that it was peer-reviewed, published in English, between 1997 and the 31 December 2017, had the full text accessible online and reported on a study or studies that utilized photographs that tourists, tour operators and/or members of the public generated and shared via SNSs or online platforms.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202211.0209.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Veterinary Medicine Keywords: Bovine Tuberculosis; Human, Interface, Livestock, Wildlife,Ethiopia
Online: 11 November 2022 (02:39:22 CET)
Bovine tuberculosis (BTB) is endemic in Ethiopian cattle. BTB is caused by Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis) and has economic and public health significance. which has significant impact on the health of livestock and human. It has been significantly a cause for great economic loss in animal production. Associated risk factors contributed to the prevalence of the disease in cattle and its transmission. Moreover, the majority of cattle owners lack awareness about the disease and its public health significance. The presence of multiple hosts including wild animals, inefficient diagnostic techniques, absence of defined national controls and eradication programs could impede the control of bovine TB. Awareness rising about the disease, its transmission andzoonotic implication however, in Ethiopia Bovine Tuberculosis in Human-Livestock-Wildlife Interface is not well studied in the country and there were no studies concerning the burden of the disease between human ,animal and wild life which is of great importance for reduction and control measures. This paper aims to review the potential health and economic impact of bovine tuberculosis control in order to safeguard human and animal population in Ethiopia
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202103.0525.v1
Subject: Engineering, Control & Systems Engineering Keywords: Wildlife Monitoring; Multi-UAV System; Optimal Transport
Online: 22 March 2021 (11:59:55 CET)
This paper addresses a wildlife monitoring problem using a team of UAVs for efficient monitoring of wildlife. The state-of-the-art technology using UAVs has been an increasingly popular tool to monitor wildlife compared to the traditional methods such as satellite imagery-based sensing or GPS trackers. However, there still exist unsolved problems as to how the UAVs need to cover a spacious domain to detect animals as many as possible. In this paper, we propose the optimal transport-based wildlife monitoring strategy for a multi-UAV system, to prioritize monitoring areas while incorporating complementary information such as GPS trackers and satellite-based sensing. Through the proposed scheme, the UAVs can explore the large-size domain effectively and collaboratively with a given priority. The time-varying nature of wildlife due to their movements is modeled as a stochastic process, which is included in the proposed work to reflect the spatio-temporal evolution of their position estimation. In this way, the proposed monitoring plan can lead to efficient wildlife monitoring with a high detection rate. Various simulation results including statistical data are provided to validate the proposed work.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0439.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Other Keywords: Participation; Wildlife; Community–Based Conservation; India; Interaction; Northeast India
Online: 19 July 2020 (20:42:21 CEST)
Participation by local communities in wildlife conservation projects have long been advocated since it is socially just and is effective to reach conservation and development goals. Socio–economic variables that drive participation and impact of participation have been studied, but the contextual process that stir up local community participation remains understudied. In this paper, we studied factors facilitating community participation in three wildlife conservation projects in Northeast India. Through ethnographic fieldwork at these sites we identified conservation actors and examined interactions between them.We found common modes of participation at these sites and these were related to gaining material incentives, providing labour, attending consultative workshops. Levels of interaction and coercion were found to be different in three sites. Three critical factors that drive participation were: (1) trigger, (2) negotiation and (3) sustenance. Trigger factors kickstart participation through establishment of a crisis narrative and facilitation by external actors. Negotiation factors emerge from day–to–day interaction between local community and external actors and involve effective entry stage activities, income opportunity, mediating voices within the community and intra–community dynamics. Sustenance factors affect the long term participation by community in the conservation project and involve tangible/intangible results, capability development of locals, funding and availability to critical information. In our paper we argue that investment of time and fund to understand the stakeholders and their concept of participation, periodic feedback sessions, capacity development of locals for self–mobilization, innovative information dissemination and securing long term funding are necessary for effective local community participation.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202209.0376.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Economics Keywords: wildlife conservation; common pool; top-down regulation; private ownership; extinction
Online: 26 September 2022 (04:28:18 CEST)
Wildlife conservation is an important component of environmental sustainability and can be improved by reviewing the performance of its three major models – common pool, top-down regulatory, and private resource -- under varying environmental and socioeconomic conditions. Generally, the private resource model is the most sustainable because it provides the best incentives to balance the needs of humans and wildlife, to maintain general wildlife habitat, and to adapt quickly to changing environmental and/or socioeconomic conditions. Top-down or “command and control” regulation, however, can be employed as a model of last resort if the private resource model shows signs of failing to protect specific species from local extirpation or extinction, which it is most likely to do for migratory species, species with close commercial substitutes, and species with no direct commercial value. Top-down regulators may also be needed to enforce property rights arrangements like catch shares and to monitor resources that remain in the common pool in the event that socioeconomic or environmental conditions change sufficiently to trigger the tragedy of the commons.
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: viral persistence; flaviviruses; mosquito; tick; autophagy; interferon; wildlife; infection; arbovirus
Online: 12 August 2021 (18:28:52 CEST)
A substantial number of humans are at risk for infection by vector-borne flaviviruses, resulting in considerable morbidity and mortality worldwide. These viruses also infect wildlife at a considerable rate, persistently cycling between either the tick or mosquito vector to small mammals (e.g. rodents, skunks) and reptiles to non-human primates and humans. Substantially increasing evidence of viral persistence in wildlife continue to be reported. In addition to in humans, viral persistence can also be established in mammalian, reptile, arachnid, and mosquito systems, as well as insect cell lines in culture. Although a considerable amount of research has focused on the potential roles of defective virus particles, autophagy and/or apoptosis induced evasion of the immune response, the precise mechanism of flavivirus has yet to be elucidated. In this review, we present findings that aid in further understanding of how vector-borne flavivirus persistence is established in wildlife. Research studies to be discussed include determining the critical roles universal flavivirus non-structural proteins played in viral persistence, the development of relevant animal models of viral persistence, and investigating the host responses that allow vector-borne flavivirus replication without destructive effects on infected cells. These findings underscore the viral–host relationships in wildlife animals and could be used to elucidate the mechanisms for the establishment of viral persistence in these animals.
TECHNICAL NOTE | doi:10.20944/preprints202209.0011.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: fire management; fire regime; pyrodiversity; pyrogeography; remote sensing; wildlife; wildfire, Landsat
Online: 1 September 2022 (07:41:44 CEST)
A neglected dimension of the fire regime concept is fire patchiness. Habitat mosaics that emerge from the grain of burned and unburned patches (pyrodiversity) are critical for the persistence of a diverse range of plant and animal species. This issue is of particular importance in frequently burned tropical Eucalyptus savannas, where coarse fire mosaics have been hypothesized to have caused the recent drastic population declines of small mammals. Satellites routinely used for fire mapping in these systems are unable to accurately map fine-grained fire mosaics, frustrating our ability to determine whether declines in biodiversity are associated with local pyrodiversity. To advance this problem, we have developed a novel method (we call ‘double-differenced dNBR’) that combines the infrequent (c. bi-monthly) detailed spatial resolution Landsat with daily coarse scale coverage of MODIS and VIIRS to map pyrodiversity in the savannas of Kakadu National Park. We used seasonal Landsat mosaics and differenced Normalized Burn Ratio (dNBR) to define burned areas, with a modification to dNBR that subtracts long-term average dNBR to increase contrast. Our results show this approach is effective in mapping fine-scale fire mosaics in the homogenous lowland savannas, although inappropriate for nearby heterogenous landscapes. Comparison of this methods to other fire metrics (e.g., area burned, seasonality) based on Landsat and MODIS imagery suggest this method is likely accurate and better at quantifying fine-scale patchiness of fire, albeit it demands detailed field validation.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202107.0684.v1
Subject: Keywords: human-wildlife interactions; non-human primates; zooanthropology; primate sanctuary; Lemur catta
Online: 30 July 2021 (09:18:23 CEST)
The aim of the present study is to investigate themes related to visitors’ perceptions of captive wildlife in particular, attitudes towards non-human primates (henceforth, primates). This research took place in free-roaming, multi-species primate sanctuary, Monkeyland (South Africa), where 400 visitors were interviewed using an anonymous survey both before and after attending a guided tour. The answers were divided into different categories, in order to standardize the motivations behind tourists’ choices. The results of the survey demonstrated that most visitors agree that a primate would not be a good companion animal. Visitors’ desire to touch primates was found to be positively correlated with desire for companion primates and inversely associated with visitor age. In response to: “would you like to touch a monkey?”, the majority of tourists who expressed this desire seemed aware that such interactions are not appropriate, with concern for animal welfare and human health. Of the various primate species present in the sanctuary, visitors preferred the ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) and, generally speaking, expressed appreciation for primates’ “cuteness”. Our results indicate a general awareness by the visitors on the importance of animal welfare in the human interactions with captive wildlife, in agreement with the “hands-off” policy of Monkeyland primate sanctuary. We discuss the findings from a general to zooanthropological point of view, proposing some reflections on the attitudes of visitors toward non-human primates.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202103.0647.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: American Mink; COVID-19; Neovison vison; SARS-CoV-2; Spike; wildlife
Online: 25 March 2021 (16:39:13 CET)
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiological agent of COVID-19 , is considered a pathogen with animal origin, mainly transmitted human to human. It has been experimentally and naturally demonstrated that several animals can be infected by SARS-CoV-2. There are strong evidences that minks are highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection, since several cases of human to mink infection have been reported, and it has been suggested mink to human infection exists, which so far it is the most reliable example of a zoonotic event of COVID-19 . However, all these cases reported are form mink farms, with the exception of one case in the USA in which the virus was detected in a mink located in the wild, but it was demonstrated that the animal was infected on a fur farm. In the present work, we have detected SARS-CoV-2 RNA in two wild American minks (Neovison vison) in Valencian Community (Eastern Spain) during invasive species trapping campaigns. The animals were trapped from areas known for harbouring self-sustained populations, far away from the nearest fur farm. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in mesenteric lymph nodes samples by RT-PCR. A partial region of the Spike protein gene was amplified and sequence obtaining a 397 nt size sequence. Phylogenetic analysis shown that both sequences were identical to the consensus variant SARS CoV-2 sequence (from Wuhan). This research describes the first infection report of a true wild American mink not related to infected fur farms or direct contact with humans, which is believed to be the first example of wild animals in which SARS-CoV-2 has been detected.
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology Keywords: climate change; sustainable development goals; wildlife; wetlands; water resources; ecosystem services
Online: 30 September 2020 (03:56:50 CEST)
Plans are currently being drafted for the next decade of action on biodiversity – both the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and Biodiversity Strategy of the European Union (EU). Freshwater biodiversity is disproportionately threatened and under-prioritized relative to the marine and terrestrial biota, despite supporting a richness of species and ecosystems with their own intrinsic value and providing multiple essential ecosystem services. Future policies and strategies must have a greater focus on the unique ecology of freshwater life and its multiple threats, and now is a critical time to reflect on how this may be achieved. We identify priority topics including environmental flows, water quality, invasive species, integrated water resources management, strategic conservation planning, and emerging technologies for freshwater ecosystem monitoring. We synthesize these topics with decades of first-hand experience and recent literature into 14 special recommendations for global freshwater biodiversity conservation based on the successes and setbacks of European policy, management and research. Applying and following these recommendations will inform and enhance the ability of global and European post-2020 biodiversity agreements to halt and reverse the rapid global decline of freshwater biodiversity.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201805.0130.v1
Subject: Biology, Other Keywords: brown-throated sloth; human-animal interactions; questionnaire; urban wildlife; Bradypus variegatus
Online: 8 May 2018 (10:53:37 CEST)
Free-range sloths living in an urban environment is rare. In this study, human opinions, attitudes and interactions with a population of Bradypus variegatus in a public square were investigated. A questionnaire was applied to people in the square where the sloths reside, and informal, opportunistic observations of human-sloth interactions were made. 95% of respondents knew of the sloths’ existence in the square and 87.8% likes their presence. Opinions about population size differed greatly and younger people were concerned if the square was appropriate place for them. Some human-sloth interactions showed the consequence of lack of biological knowledge. People initiated all sloth-human interactions. The fact that sloths are strictly folivorous has limited their interactions with humans and consequently minimised negative impact of the human-animal interaction on their wellbeing. These results demonstrate that while there is a harmonious relationship between people and sloths, actions in environmental education of the square’s public could be beneficial for the sloths.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202012.0283.v3
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; Covid-19; wildlife; host-switching; reservoirs; risk assessment; surveillance
Online: 26 March 2021 (10:25:36 CET)
The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 likely emerged from a wildlife source with transmission to humans followed by rapid geographic spread throughout the globe and severe impacts on both human health and the global economy. Since the onset of the pandemic, there have been many instances of human-to-animal transmission involving companion, farmed and zoo animals, and limited evidence for spread into free-living wildlife. The establishment of reservoirs of infection in wild animals would create significant challenges to infection control in humans and could pose a threat to the welfare and conservation status of wildlife. We discuss the potential for exposure, onward transmission and persistence of SARS-CoV-2 in an initial selection of wild mammals (bats, canids, felids, mustelids, great apes, rodents and cervids). Dynamic risk assessment and targeted surveillance are important tools for the early detection of infection in wildlife, and here we describe a framework for collating and synthesising emerging information to inform targeted surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 in wildlife. Surveillance efforts should be integrated with information from public and veterinary health initiatives to provide insights into the potential role of wild mammals in the epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202210.0416.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: Leishmania infantum; reservoir; wildlife; artiodactyls; roe deer; European hare; red fox; wild boar
Online: 27 October 2022 (02:10:58 CEST)
In the last decade, an upsurge of human leishmaniasis has been reported in the Emilia-Romagna region, Northeast Italy. Epidemiologic data raised doubts about the role of dogs as the main reservoirs for Leishmania infantum. In the present study, a total of 1,077 wild animals were screened for L. infantum DNA in earlobe and spleen samples from 2019 to 2022. The lymph nodes were tested only in the 23 animals already positive in the earlobe and/or spleen. A total of 71 (6.6%) animals resulted positive in at least one of the sampled tissues, including 3/18 (16.7%) wolves, 6/39 (15.4%) European hares, 38/309 (12.3%) roe deer, 1/11 (9.1%) red deer, 8 (4.9%) wild boars, 13/319 (4.1%) red foxes, 1/54 (1.9%) porcupine, and 1/59 (1.7%) European badger. Most of the infected animals (62/71) tested positive only in the earlobe tissue, just 4 animals (2 roe deer and 2 wild boars) tested positive only in the spleen, and 5 animals (3 roe deer and 2 red foxes) resulted positive for both tissues. L. infantum DNA was detected in the lymph nodes of 6/23 ani-mals. L. infantum detection occurred in all seasons associated with low real-time PCR Ct values. Further research is needed in order to clarify the role of wildlife in the re-emerging focus of leishmaniasis in Northeast Italy.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0478.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: Antarctica; coronavirus; COVID-19; mitigation measures; reverse zoonoses; risk assessment; SARS-CoV-2; wildlife
Online: 21 August 2020 (09:21:25 CEST)
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has spread rapidly to most parts of the world, causing high numbers of deaths and significant social and economic impacts. SARS-CoV-2 is a novel coronavirus with a suggested zoonotic origin and with the potential for cross-species transmission among animals. Antarctica can be considered the only continent free of SARS-CoV-2 although at the end of the 2019-2020 tourist season, at least one SARS-CoV-2 positive tourist visited the Antarctic Peninsula. Therefore, concerns have been expressed regarding the potential human introduction of this virus to the continent through the activities of research or tourism with potential effects including those related to human health, but also the potential for virus transmission to Antarctic wildlife. This reverse-zoonotic transmission risk to Antarctic wildlife is assessed considering the available information on host susceptibility, dynamics of the infection in humans, and contact interactions between humans and Antarctic wildlife. Measures to reduce the risk are proposed as well as the identification of knowledge gaps related to this issue.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201908.0226.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: crowdsourcing; citizen science; ecotourism; Facebook; Flickr; photo-elicitation; Instagram; photovoice; social media; social networking sites; Twitter; wildlife conservation
Online: 21 August 2019 (10:34:58 CEST)
The first two decades of the 21st-century have seen the emergence of the modern citizen science movement, increased demand for niche eco and wildlife tourism experiences, and the willingness of people to voluntarily share information and photographs online. To varying extents, the rapid growth of these three phenomena has been driven by the availability of portable smart devices, access to the Web 2.0 internet from almost anywhere on the planet, and the development of applications and services, including social media/networking sites (SNSs). In addition, the number of peer-reviewed publications that explore how text and images shared on SNSs can be data-mined for academic research has surged in recent years. This systematic quantitative review has two goals. The first goal is to provide an oversight of how the photographs that ecotourists share online are contributing to wildlife tourism research. The second goal is to promote the emerging photovoice technique as a theoretical context for social research based on the photographs and comments that ecotourists share on SNSs. From the perspectives of community benefits, conservation behaviours, and environmental education, there are many similarities between authentic ecotourism experiences and quality ecological citizen science programs. Much of the literature regarding the theory and practice of citizen science reports on the difficulties of attracting, training, motivating and retaining community members. The synthesis of this review is that crowdsourcing wildlife and tourism data from comments and photographs that ecotourists share on SNSs is a credible method of research that provides a self-replenishing pool of citizen scientists.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202102.0590.v2
Subject: Biology, Other Keywords: African swine fever virus (ASFV); Pork shortage; Alternative meat consumption; Wildlife; Human-animal contact; Zoonotic spillover; SARS-CoV-2
Online: 25 January 2022 (10:01:12 CET)
The spillover of a virus from an animal reservoir to humans requires both molecular and ecological risk factors to align. While extensive research both before and after the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 in 2019 implicates horseshoe bats as the significant animal reservoir for the new human coronavirus, it remains unclear why it emerged at this time. One massive disruption to animal-human contacts in 2019 is linked to the on-going African swine fever virus (ASFV) pandemic. Pork is the major meat source in the Chinese diet. We hypothesize that the dramatic shortage of pork following large-scale culling and restrictions of pig movement (resulting in marked price increases) led to alternative sources of meat and unusual animal and meat movements nationwide, e.g., involving wildlife, and thus greatly increased opportunities for human-sarbecovirus contacts. Pork prices were particularly high in southern provinces (Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan, and Hubei), where wildlife is farmed and more frequently consumed. Major wildlife farming provinces are spread from Northern to Southern China, which overlaps with horseshoe bat host ranges, potential hosts of the proximal SARS-CoV-2 ancestor, and wildlife sourcing provinces of Wuhan Huanan market and possibly other markets. Trading of SARS-CoV-2 susceptible wildlife in these markets, such as minks, raccoon dogs, foxes and palm civets in Wuhan markets, could have increased the risk of SARS-CoV-2 from an intermediary host. Moreover, large quantities of animals raised for fur could have entered the human food chain undetected and significantly increased risks of animal-human contact. Performing retrospective testing of stored susceptible animals and their meat sold before December 2019 may be helpful in the next stage of tracing the animal origin of SARS-CoV-2 as spillover events are more likely to have taken place in 2019 when China was experiencing the worst effects of the ASFV pandemic.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201911.0296.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: crowdsourcing; citizen science; Flickr; land cover/use; social media; volunteered geographic information; wildlife tourism; Borneo Pygmy Elephant; Sabah; Malaysia; SDGs
Online: 24 November 2019 (16:40:15 CET)
This pilot study explores the potential of using a citizen science approach for sourcing volunteered geographic information via social media to research wildlife tourism interactions with endangered Borneo Pygmy Elephants on the lower Kinabatangan River in Sabah, Malaysia. Such information is critical if the lower Kinabatangan region is to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through a sustainable tourism industry based around viewing the pygmy elephants. Guests and guides from the Sukau Rainforest Lodge were encouraged to become close-range remote sensors by sharing geotagged photographs of pygmy elephant sightings on Flickr. A ten week on-ground trail generated 247 photographs shared by 17 individual contributors with approximately two-thirds (65%) of photographs being georeferenced for the time and location of the elephant sighting. Plotting those sighting to explore the vegetation matrix (i.e. remnant forest or oil palm plantation) showed almost three-quarter (73%) of the sightings occurred within 1 km of an oil palm plantation. Of greater concern is that one in two sightings (50%) along the river occurred within the 500 m of an oil palm planation, which is inside the riparian buffer that the Sabah Government recommended for conservation of the elephants in their Lower Kinabatangan range. This study therefore demonstrates proof of concept for this research method and its further application at the nexus of wildlife conservation and sustainable ecotourism research.