Impacts of the COVID‐19 pandemic on mammals at tourism destinations: a systematic review

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Department or Administrative Unit

Anthropology and Museum Studies

Publication Date



1. The COVID‐19 outbreak is having an unprecedented effect on human society, but how is it affecting the mammals that people live with? Mammals that were part of tourism experiences are of concern, because they impact on people’s health and livelihoods and, since many of them are now dependent on people, we urge consideration of the status of these mammals as a result of the pandemic.

2. We provide a systematic review of the impacts the COVID‐19 outbreak has had on mammals in tourism venues. We examine reports of diverse species in various settings responding to changes in their environments that are occurring because of the pandemic.

3. We searched the scholarly literature, preprints, and online news sources using combinations of the search terms ‘tourism’, ‘animals’, ‘wildlife’, ‘coronavirus’, and ‘COVID‐19’. We searched Web of Science, SCOPUS, EBSCOHost, JSTOR, bioRxiv, OSFPREPRINTS, GDELT, Google News, and National Public Radio, and analysed a total of 39 news articles, one peer‐reviewed article, and six preprints.

4. In total, we identified 92 distinct animal reports representing 48 mammal species. We used an existing tourism classification schema to categorise each article based on the situation reported, with the new addition of one context. We classified 92 separate animal reports in 46 articles into four (of six possible) contexts: mammals as attractions (n = 40 animal reports), mammals as commodities (n = 33), mammals as threats (n = 2), and unusual sightings of mammals (n = 17). Shortage of food, in danger of losing home, having an enriched/relaxed environment, spatial expansion, disease transmission, and poaching are the major impacts or events reported in these contexts.

5. We suggest changes for each context with respect to how people interface with mammals, with the goal of improving the lives of mammals and the people dependent on them.


This article was originally published in Mammal Review. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Mammal Review


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