Diseases can cause animal populations to decline or even go extinct. And they’re often worsened by environmental threats caused by people.

mountain yellow-legged frog

COVID-19 has had the greatest global effect of any disease outbreak in living memory, but in many ways it’s not unique.

Pandemics have emerged and spread through human populations across our history, and the same has happened to wildlife. Disease outbreaks in animals and plants have caused extinctions and currently threaten the survival of vast numbers of species around the world.

And just as the effects of COVID-19 can be exacerbated by air pollution, wildlife epidemics and pandemics — officially known as epizootics and panzootics — are also influenced by environmental factors, most often related to human activity.

Watch our video below to find out how:

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Dipika Kadaba

is an ecologist who uses data visualization and design to communicate environmental issues in her role as The Revelator's visual storyteller. Her interdisciplinary work originates in her background in environmental health research as a veterinarian, a graduate degree in conservation science, and a lifetime spent creating webcomics and animations for fun.