Steve Galster, Marco Werman, Galster discussed on PRI's The World

PRI's The World
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Tell us why georgia is on their minds. That's coming up just ahead here on the world. I'm marco werman this is the world we're co-production of gbh boston and p rx. We don't know exactly where the new corona virus came from one theory. It went from bats to another animal to people. The missing link could be the pangolin. Scaly antidote is popular among smugglers. As the world's patrick win reports from bangkok. The dark trade could be a time bomb for the next pandemic. if you've never seen a pangolin picture in anti-terror the size of a cat with a long pink tongue and they're covered in armor thick brown scales. That look like tree bark. They look like they would make some cute squeaky noise. Penguins don't really make any sound at all well unless there's flashing in the mud which they really liked to do. They're just really amazing to watch. Yeah they're adorable. Animals really totally harmless. Steve galster helps run freeland a nonprofit that tries to stop traffickers of people and animals. They've got offices in kenya. India and thailand and they've seen a lot of penguins because penguins are the most traffic animal in the world. They hang out in trees and warm places sub saharan africa india southeast asia and catching them is easy. Galster says going out usually with dogs sometimes alone smoking or shaking trees to get the penguins to drop when surrounded. They won't bite or claw or even stick out their tongues. poor pangolin only defense against people or anything is to crawl up into a ball poachers in india filming themselves hacking. Down a tree to catch a pangolin. The animal is valuable for their meat. And because people think they're scales can cure diseases though. That's not true. Generally speaking it's illegal to capture penguins and move them from country to country. But that's what happens. Trucks full of live penguins usually driven from their tropical homeland all the way to china the biggest wildlife market on earth and along the way galster says penguins only get fed sporadically. They would put a hose and the penguins mouth and they would even feed it some lake. We call it mealie meal so it'd be a little bit of starchy subject in the water. Hydrating them keep them alive alive but just barely so they get weak and sick with whatever microbes. Pick up in transit then. They're often kept in a hot damp warehouse with all these other traffic animals. Here's taivon win. With save vietnam. Wildlife it not pangolin. It may be many wildlife win. Helps run one of the top pangolin rescue operations in the world. He's rescued them from warehouses. Jim packed with animals. That would never interact in the wild turtles and sugar. Gliders and pangolins breathing all over each other and the pangolin alien as it looks is a mammal so it can easily give viruses to us. Steve galster says these warehouses or markets are just breeding grounds for viruses with all these animals coughing peeing. Pooping all kinds of things that can help spread whatever they're holding onto. That's what i'm saying. These are time bombs but is this how covid nineteen really started earlier. This year a chinese study said evidence showing the virus jumped from penguins to people with strong newer. Research suggest maybe not either way covid nineteen. That's already here. But if this pangolin trade continues it could spawn another pandemic on that front. At least there is good news. So he's human fung. Jim and ginger years. Do y'all you hold on chinese officials. This year announced a new crackdown on the wildlife trade putting penguins in its most protected category. That's great but here's some bad news. It comes courtesy of a former thai anti-narcotics officer pech odd seeing chai who in a recent speech compared animal traffickers to drug traffickers. Is almost the same. I confirm that it is almost the same. Every activities everage supply shares and everything. They almost the same. The same routes the same tricks for slipping across borders. It's the same whether smuggling penguins or cocaine. You can see why this is bad. There's been a crackdown on drugs for ages and they get past police all the time. Steve galster from freeland says it is often the same groups moving meth today and wildlife. Tomorrow these are criminal syndicates. These are organized. Crooks know exactly what they're doing and they don't care about anything except how much money they're making because wildlife trafficking is so globalised. It's also kind of like climate change a problem that requires a global response. The united states was the leader on wildlife conservation for awhile. It's not right now. There is no leader in the world on wildlife conservation. If anything we need to see china the united states team up those are the two biggest consumers of wildlife in the world yet there is a ton of wildlife crime in america too. So here's the deal we know pandemics. And wildlife are linked we know hiv came from primates. That sars came from a civic cat. He bola probably bats covid. Nineteen not yet clear but galster says we can all see the pattern and what needs to be done. Perhaps the penguin has woken us up. And maybe this is mother. Nature's revenge reminding people that mess with mother nature. It's gonna mess with you for the world. I'm patrick win in bangkok. All eyes are on georgia and this being the world. I'm talking here about the state of georgia not the nation in a january special runoff election. Voters in georgia will determine if the democrats or the republicans control the us senate. Grassroots organizations are out mobilizing every vote they can muster and including a crucial campaign targeting latino voters recently the national organization behind started canvassing georgia with a rally..

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