Spare monkeys the virus, say biologists 

#GS3 #Environment #Wildlife 

Feeding primates could lead to mutated SARS-CoV-2 infecting hapless animals 

  • Feeding monkeys during the COVID-19 pandemic could have profoundly negative effects in the long-term, such as helping the SARS-CoV-2 virus mutate and infect primates, biologists have said in a note, advising caution. 
  • It was well documented that viruses and endoparasites could transmit between humans and primates. 
  • The worst-case scenario is that SARS-CoV-2 mutates and infects other primate species. This could lead to many scenarios, such as the virus affecting the health of the affected animal populations or the animals serving as reservoirs or hosts and spreading the disease to other species or human populations. 
  • Feeding primates should be discouraged regardless of the pandemic, in order to prevent not just the spread of diseases but also to minimise problematic human-primate interaction. 

A ‘provocation’ 

  • Monkey troops accustomed to being fed by people could view denial of food as a “provocation,” leading to hostile interactions.  
  • Monkeys start associating humans with food, and when food is denied, can attack them. 
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