A Samburu woman at the Global March for Elephants, Rhinos, Lions and other endangered species (GMFER) to raise awareness and demand governments take action to stop the poaching of elephants and rhinos and to protect endangered wildlife in Nairobi, Kenya, 2019. Photo: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP

When COVID-19 first broke out, there was great hope that what was a catastrophe for humans would be a blessing for wild animals. This hope rested on early theories that the novel coronavirus had passed, en route from a bat, through the immune system of a live pangolin in the wet market in Wuhan, China (then considered the epicentre of the outbreak), helping facilitate the crucial mutation that made humans susceptible to the virus.

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Simone Haysom is an independent researcher and writer, focusing on urbanisation in Africa and the effects of conflict on civilians. She has worked for the Overseas Development Institute and published with the Institute for Security Studies, the Huffington Post and the Mail and Guardian.