While we have been mapping the national and global reach of COVID-19, Global MapAid has also been looking at its impact in the natural world. As the shutting of borders began, the effect of this necessary strategy to further prevent the spread of the virus has had more impacts than simply cancelled holidays.
At Global MapAid we have collated news articles and stories that show the experiences of local communities and organisations that have had to adapt to the pandemic, particularly across Africa. As conservation work depends heavily on tourism for income, and in turn, the funding of their projects, the closing of borders has impacted these organisations hugely. Job losses and the redirection of funds has occurred as a result, and many organisations are uncertain about how long they can continue without assistance from their governments.
The hunting of bushmeat has become more frequent in areas where job losses and a fall of income have become prevalent. While in others, the threat of poaching for ivory has increased as alternative sources of income are sought. The Uganda Wildlife Authority has recorded 367 poaching incidents between February and May 2020, double what was recorded in the same period in 2019. While in South Africa, the non-profit Rhino 911 has been at the forefront of a dehorning project to protect its rhino population.