According to a new study, pangolins have so many coronaviruses that they should never be touched without gloves.
Personally, I decided never to handle wild mammals without gloves and a face mask again. The reasons are as follows:
1. You can pick up a (possibly unknown) pathogen and die. Look up Marburg virus. Happened with bat researchers, rodent researchers, etc.
2. You can pick up a (possibly unknown) pathogen and start a global pandemic. Happened a few times recently, as well as in more distance past (smallpox apparently jumped to humans from African gerbils), and will happen more often in the future.
3. You can pick up a (possibly unknown) pathogen, become an asymptomatic carrier, infect the next wild animal you handle, and cause a species extinction or even a mass extinction of multiple species. We don’t know if that has ever happened, but similar things happened with white nose syndrome and frog chytrid fungus.
4. You can infect the animal with a human pathogen you carry. For example, we now know that COVID-19 is asymptomatic in half of human cases, and it can cause outbreaks in <a href="http://https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.30.015347v1.full.pdf“>ferrets, and likely other carnivores, bats etc. That might result in wiping out a species or, in worse-case scenario, a significant chunk of biodiversity. Pangolins, for example, are particularly vulnerable because they are missing about a third of genes for immune system.
Even if you don’t care about yourself and your species, please try to make it safe for wildlife: put on gloves and mask! And, of course, don’t forget to sterilize all your shoes, clothes, traps, mistnets and other tools when moving between geographical regions.