The COVID 19 Symposium: The Virus, The Wildlife and The Way Forward



Symposia will be available on-demand on their scheduled date, then again at the conclusion of the conference.

As we all long to return to normal, there is no disputing there is more to this pandemic than stopping a virus. This symposium will begin by setting the stage for the evolution of this pandemic, the virology and epidemiology of the virus and the role of wildlife in its spread and persistence. Speakers will discuss how the pandemic has affected wildlife in both urban and wild spaces. And concerns related to science (or not) in the media, changes in funding and changes in behavior on wildlife and Wildlifers. Don’t miss this session, it will inform, inspire, and challenge you to look forward to wildlife ecology and management in a (post) Covid19 world.

A River of Emerging Viruses: Upstream Drivers and Downstream Consequences
Tony L. Goldberg
The race is on to discover the world’s viruses, driven by new diagnostic technologies and the exigency of pandemics . However, viruses are like a river, in that they have upstream drivers and downstream consequences, such that discovering them alone may not automatically translate into understanding their ecology, epidemiology, or societal consequences. This talk discusses how general rules governing viral emergence from animal populations into and throughout human societies might be elucidated. Examples highlight how disparate fields of study within the biological and social sciences can triangulate to inform the study of viral emergence in ways not fully attainable by either set of disciplines alone. A re-focusing of efforts by biologists and social scientists working together may ultimately provide the level of “pandemic preparedness” needed in today’s rapidly changing world.
Being a Wildlife Professional in the Time of COVID-19
Krysten Schuler
Chicago resident experiences with wildlife during the COVID-19 spring quarantine
Maureen Heather Murray, PhD
Maureen H. Murray, Kaylee A. Byers, Jacqueline Buckley, Seth B. Magle, Dorothy Maffei, Preeya Waite, Danielle German
Social distancing policies to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic may alter human-wildlife interactions by shifting patterns and locations of human activity and anthropogenic resources. Any changes in human-wildlife interactions during quarantine may differ for commensal vs. non-commensal species. For example, following restaurant closures, commensal species such as rats may shift their foraging activity due to changes in food availability. Residents may also observe other urban wildlife (e.g., birds and meso-mammals) more frequently if wildlife are more active or if residents spend more time observing wildlife during quarantine. In this study, we aimed to describe resident experiences with rats and other urban wildlife during the spring 2020 quarantine in Chicago, Illinois to determine whether human-wildlife interactions had changed. We distributed an online survey to all Chicago community areas via local government and community organizations. We received 834 responses from 106 neighborhoods. We used multivariate regression to analyze resident responses and demographics. During the survey period, 24% of respondents observed an increase in rats on their block and observing more rats was associated with living in proximity to restaurants. Shifts in food availability away from restaurants during quarantine may promote rat activity near residences, which may pose additional public health risks or financial burdens. Residents who observed more rats on their block were also more likely to observe more wildlife near their home. Of survey respondents, 42% observed more wildlife around their homes, 47% thought about urban wildlife more often than usual, and 75% enjoyed seeing wildlife in their neighborhood during quarantine. Residents who observed or thought about wildlife more often were significantly more likely to express interest in making their property attractive to wildlife. These relationships suggest that seeing more urban wildlife in residential neighborhoods may be an unexpected positive experience for residents during quarantine and may promote support for wildlife-friendly neighborhoods.
Wildlife Spatial and Temporal Responses to Human Activity During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Christopher J. Schell
The Impacts of COVID-19 on Wildlife Tourism
Simon Hudson
Impact of COVID-19 on Wildlife Education
Brent Bibles
Field Research in Midst of a Global Pandemic
Kurt VerCauteren
Listening to the call of the wild: What wildlife conservation can tell us about avoiding the next pandemic
Kathryn (Kate) Huyvaert


Location: Virtual Date: September 30, 2020 Time: -