In 2020, Field Projects International, like so many others, was greatly impacted by the global pandemic. Our longterm datasets were interrupted, our training programs cancelled, and our operating budget slashed. However, it is our intention to recover from these major setbacks by committing to expand the scope of our bio-surveillance and wildlife monitoring efforts in 2021, as well as building larger and more diverse field teams to assist with data collection.
While it may seem as though the movements, population dynamics, and pathogen loads of animals in faraway tropical forests are a trivial matter, in reality it is at times like these that the importance of this type of research becomes most salient. The scientific community has strong reason to believe that COVID-19 was created by the accidental transmission of a virus from a reservoir species to a novel species (humans), and this type of spillover event is only expected to increase with human pressures on wildlife. For more than a decade, FPI has been monitoring the disease status (including viruses) carried by our long-term study populations, and this is an area of our research that we plan to expand greatly. We will screen a greater number of animals, as well as a greater diversity of species. In addition, we will track demographic changes in wildlife populations and communities, allowing insights relevant to conservation efforts.
Thank you again for your support of our work. We know the world is hurting, and there are dozens of causes out there that you must support. We hope you can see that disease surveillance efforts that include conservation ecology are crucial to understanding emerging infectious diseases. What we are working to make a difference. We can't do this without you.
The Field Projects International Team.