Bonobos are closely related to humans and therefore risks being infected by the new coronavirus, COVID19. Bonobo projects are now being quarantined to protect the animals. The economic crisis also contributes to fewer donations that affect animal and nature projects all over the world.
– We have received an emergency call from one of our projects in Congo explaining that the situation is critical due to the risk of COVID19, as well as significant financial loss, says Ragnhild Jacobsson, CEO of The Perfect World Foundation.
Bonobo, or the pygmy chimpanzee as it is also called, is one of the human monkeys that are genetically closely related to humans and can, therefore, be infected with the same virus as humans.
– Bonobos get the same virus as humans but are more likely to die and are now quarantined. COVID19 represents an increased risk for all animal and nature projects that we work with when it affects staff and donations, says Ragnhild Jacobsson.
The quarantine of bonobos means that visitors are forbidden to enter areas where the bonobos exist. Even the staff is in lockdown and are recommended minimal contact with people outside the quarantine.
– The animal- and nature projects are also in crisis and in the long term we may have problems securing the most elementary like food and medicine for the animals, says Ragnhild Jacobsson.
Dependent on donations from companies and individuals
COVID19 has hit the economy hard and Ragnhild Jacobsson explains that it can be a challenge to ensure that the animals are fed right now. The animals, nature, and organizations such as The Perfect World Foundation are dependent on donations from companies and individuals and according to Ragnhild, the ongoing virus crisis has quickly become evident through declining donations. She points out that the crisis affects not only the bonobos but all animal and nature projects. Among other things, she mentions a project in Africa where the organization works to protect “rhino babies” whose mothers died from poaching, and where it can be challenging to provide the rhinos with food and security if donations are reduced.
– The coronavirus affects us all and we must, of course, solve the most acute problems first. But let’s not forget the vulnerable animals who cannot speak for themselves, concludes Ragnhild Jacobsson.