Is 2020 the Year When Primatologists Should Cancel Fieldwork?

Am J Primatol. 2020 Jun 24;e23161. doi: 10.1002/ajp.23161. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Year 2020 has brought the greatest global pandemic to hit the world since the end of the First World War. The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 and the resulting disease named coronavirus disease 2019 has brought the world to its knees both financially and medically. The American Society of Primatologists has postponed their annual meetings from the end of May 2020 until the end of September 2020, while the International Primatological Society have postponed their biennial congress from August 2020 to August 2021, which has also resulted in their 2022 meetings in Malaysia being pushed back until 2023. Here, I explore the potential dangers of pursuing any primate fieldwork during this pandemic on our study species, their ecosystems, and local peoples. I believe that the risk of bringing this virus into our study ecosystems is too great and that primatologists should cancel all field research until the pandemic ends or a vaccine/reliable treatment is widely available. This is the year we all must become One Health practitioners!

Keywords: Covid-19; Field Research; One Health; Pandemic; SARS-Cov-2.