“Changes in the Amazon are driving displaced species of animals, from bats to monkeys to mosquitoes, into new areas, while opening the region to arrivals of more savanna-adapted species, including rodents.
Those shifts, combined with greater human interaction with animals as people move deeper into the forest, is increasing the chances of a virulent virus, bacteria or fungus jumping species, said Adalberto Luís Val a researcher at INPA, the National Institute for Research in the Amazon, based in Manaus.
“It is very easy for us to blame the bat, to blame the monkey, to blame the pig” when a new disease emerges, Barreto (a member of the Tukano indigenous people) said. “But in fact, the human is causing this, in the relationship that we build with the owners of the space”.
Without adequate preservation of forests, rivers and animals, imbalance and disease are generated, he said, as humans fail to respect nature entities known to shamans as “wai-mahsã”.