Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘covid-19’

CBC Radio Canada Highlights CWF in Story on Horseshoe Crabs in COVID Vaccine Tests

Sunday, December 13th, 2020

by Ethan Gilardi, Assistant Biologist

Photo by: Joe Reynolds

CBC Radio Canada program “The Current” interviewed Conserve Wildlife Foundation executive director David Wheeler for its feature on the fascinating story of New Jersey’s horseshoe crabs playing an irreplaceable role in the urgent search for an effective COVID-19 vaccine.

Conservationists are raising concerns that horseshoe crabs and the shorebirds that feed on them could become unexpected casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The milky blue blood of this ancient animal has made it into a modern medical marvel,” David Wheeler, executive director of the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, said of the horseshoe crab.

The medical industry captures the critters to draw out some of their blood, because it contains a unique component called limulus amebocyte lysate, or LAL. LAL can detect harmful toxins in vaccines — including those being produced for COVID-19 — or other medicine undergoing testing, he told The Current‘s Matt Galloway

“It’s really extraordinary,” said Wheeler. “The concern now, of course, is at some point we would really like to see it shift to a synthetic alternative rather than continuing to only use the crabs for that.”

ABC Action News: Horseshoe crabs play key role in race for COVID-19 vaccine

Saturday, October 3rd, 2020

by Walter Perez

Horseshoe crab blood is hypersensitive to dangerous bacteria that can develop in injectable medicines and vaccines.

In the race for a vaccine for COVID-19, horseshoe crabs – a New Jersey coastal fixture both now and eons ago in the days before the dinosaurs – may play a vital role.

This video story by ABC Action News features CWF Executive Director David Wheeler and top shorebird scientist Dr. Larry Niles in telling this science fiction-like tale.

Watch the video & read more on How NJ’s horseshoe crabs are key to a COVID-19 vaccine

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020

by Scott Fallon,

Horseshoe crabs spawning at Thompsons Beach in May 2015. Photo by Joe Smith.

Perhaps the most remarkable creature to call the waters off New Jersey home is older than the dinosaurs, helps balance the state’s ecosystem and looks like it crept out of the “Aliens” movie franchise.

Now the horseshoe crab is playing a vital role in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, with billions of doses expected to be produced worldwide over the next several years.

“It’s absolutely worthwhile for horseshoe crabs to be used in the development of a vaccine,” said David Wheeler, executive director of the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey. “They play an extraordinary role in public health. But they are irreplaceable in New Jersey and Delaware for how they keep the bird population alive.”

Click here to continue reading.


Thursday, September 3rd, 2020

by Milena Bimpong

This story marks Part 4 of CWF’s series about COVID-19’s impacts on nature in New Jersey and beyond. Part 1 can be found here, Part 2 can be found here, and Part 3 can be found here. CWF Executive Director David Wheeler discussed COVID-19 and wildlife on our podcast, State of Change, which can be found here.

Less Air Pollution & More Plastic Pollution

A discarded mask drifts in the tide. Mark Makela/Getty Images

This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected human lives in many different ways. However, the pandemic has been impacting our environment and nature as well. For example, air pollution decreased when people started staying inside due to lockdown restrictions, which is beneficial towards wildlife. However, there have been negative impacts as well. The amount of debris in marine ecosystems has increased due to improper disposal of face masks. What will the future for wildlife species in New Jersey look like amid the pandemic?

One temporary positive impact that the pandemic has had on the environment is reduced carbon dioxide emissions. According to a study published in Nature Climate Change, global carbon dioxide emissions have decreased by 17% from 2019 to early April 2020. Although this won’t last once we return to pre-pandemic conditions, reduced carbon dioxide emissions is great for wildlife. Since too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has amplified the effects of climate change, this has threatened the habitats of many wildlife species. If reduced carbon dioxide emissions were to occur long-term, it would be able to have a larger impact on wildlife habitats. 


Support Wildlife – and Protect People – with Our New Face Masks!

Wednesday, August 26th, 2020

by Milena Bimpong

Habitat Program Manager Ben Wurst wearing the black CWF mask.

Though few people had these on their shopping lists at the start of 2020, face masks have become arguably the most important way to stay healthy for New Jerseyans in the face of COVID-19.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation is now offering attractive and durable masks featuring our falcon-themed logo, so you can protect yourself – and protect wildlife at the same time!

Our face masks can be purchased here at $10.00 per mask.

CWF masks come in three colors: black or navy with a white CWF logo, or white with a black CWF logo. They are made of cotton and are three-ply, which makes wearing this mask very comfortable. The CWF logo is displayed on the right side of each mask. With a simple design and soft material, these masks are a convenient way to not only protect yourself and others, but also to show support for CWF.