In an April of Human Isolation, Photos From the Animal Kingdom

Across the world, humans aren't the only ones affected by global upheavals.
April of Human Isolation
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Abigail Malate, Staff Illustrator

(Inside Science) -- Pandemics affect the animal kingdom as well as people. While most of the human world hunkers down for yet more days of isolation, wildlife can inspire us to contemplate how humans are as much a part of the environment as they are. In Belgium, a llama’s antibodies may assist scientists researching ways to fight COVID-19. In western Kenya, a new species of bat helps to launch a collection of research articles for scientific advancement. Finally, monkeys in Nepal and Uganda show just how closely humans and animals interact. This month, we take a look at the state of global animal affairs.

young rhesus macaque clings to a human-made structure

At a temple in Kathmandu, Nepal, a young rhesus macaque clings to a human-made structure. These primates are exceptionally good at adapting to urban landscapes, bringing them close to humans and making them more likely to transmit viruses they may be carrying. In general, human exploitation of wildlife in the name of urbanization, hunting, and trade drives declines in animal populations while increasing close contact with humans. New research suggests that these activities enable increased transmission of animal viruses to humans. (Ajay Sharma)

Winter, a llama, pictured in center with her "friends" on a Belgian countryside farm

This is Winter, a llama, pictured in center with her "friends" on a Belgian countryside farm. The antibodies she produces have inspired scientists to develop their own antibody against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Her antibodies are some of the first known to block the "spike protein" on the coronavirus cell used to break into healthy cells. Scientists from the University of Texas at Austin are preparing for preclinical studies to be conducted on hamsters or nonhuman primates. (Tim Coppens)

ven creatures on the smallest scale have a great impact on the global environment

Even creatures on the smallest scale have a great impact on the global environment. They provide food for other animals, perform vital roles in freshwater ecosystems and contribute generally to the overall diversity of life. Specialists at the University of Huddersfield in the U.K. offer concrete steps for how individuals can help conserve insects by mowing lawns less and avoiding pesticides, as well as other strategies. (Dr. Matt Hill, University of Huddersfield)

Old World Leaf-nosed bat

A species of Old World Leaf-nosed bat, pictured here, is the subject of the first scientific paper submitted to a newly launched collection of articles that allows Linked Open Data publishing practices. These “LOD” articles are designed to help scientists across different disciplines share knowledge and better understand animals that could carry viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses. The pictured colony of bats was found in an abandoned gold mine in western Kenya, and they may be a new species of the genus Hipposideros. (B. D. Patterson/Field Museum)

olive baboon in Uganda’s Kibale National Park

Deforestation is another environmental trend that could worsen the spread of disease. According to a new Stanford study, the loss of tropical forests in Uganda puts people at greater risk of physical interactions with wild primates. Pictured here is an olive baboon in Uganda’s Kibale National Park, captured just outside the Kibale Ecohealth Project lab at Makerere University Biological Field Station.