Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Golder’s News And Sport
Top name Chinese celebrities like Angelababy have launched a campaign to stop locals munching into wildlife after claims that eating bats and pangolins were the cause of the coronavirus outbreak.
According to local media, 17 celebs including Kris Wu, Angelababy, Huang Xiaoming, Liu Tao, Angel Wang, and Yang Mi have pledged to stop eating exotic animals.
The video clip for the campaign that lasts around 60 seconds has gone viral in the country with the celebs advising and encouraging people to stop eating the exotic animals with slogans like: “Say no to the consumption of wildlife” and “To save wildlife is to save ourselves.”
This campaign is supposed to encourage even more people to skip out on this diet and cracks down on the sale of wildlife food in China, but the habit of consuming wildlife is continuing in other Asian countries despite the warnings.
In Indonesia, only this week images of bats being sold at the local markets were being widely circulated on social media despite coronavirus fears. Local media reported on images saying that people in the country are continuing to eat bats.
Indonesian bat seller Stenly Timbuleng from Tomohon, a city in North Sulawesi, told local media that on an average he sells 50-60 bats daily, and during festive periods, he can sell up to 600 pieces.
He even added that the virus fears were not even affecting his business, saying: “The coronavirus has not affected sales.” He then added: “It is always sold out.”
From the information from the local media, bats are traditionally eaten by the Minahasan people from North Sulawesi in the form of a curry-like dish called Paniki.
And even local culinary expert and author William W. Wongso, confirms this theory by stating: “Bats are the favourite indigenous protein, particularly in North Sulawesi,”
While another consumer of these dishes Jufry Mantak even stated: “We have not found any (coronavirus) cases in Manado. Up till now, there are still many people eating these bats. Because bats are good, especially when cooked with coconut milk.”
Research has shown that the coronavirus originated from a virus found in bats and also a similar one in pangolins which are endangered species before it was passed on to humans.
Biologist warned that every time an animal virus is ingested by humans, there is a risk that it might mutate and in mutating, become something that can also infect humans.
The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention has previously stated the coronavirus – now formally known as COVID-19 by the World Health Organization – originated from a Wuhan seafood market where wild animals were also illegally sold.
Meanwhile China has issued many campaigns and activities to stop the sale of wildlife, The Chinese government has prohibited the trading of wild animals and police are actively clamping down on illegal sales.
At the end of last month authorities in China’s southern Guangxi region seized hundreds of carcasses from an online exotic meat trader peddling eagles, leopard cats, squirrels, and raccoons.
So far from the deadly virus, there are over 60,107 cases and 1,363 deaths, mostly in China, and Indonesia has no reported coronavirus cases which is reportedly a reason locals continue enjoying bats.
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