Environment

WWF report reveals a 60% decline in wildlife populations since 1970

WWF report reveals a 60% decli...
A new WWF report has painted a grim picture of the impact human activity is having on biodiversity around the world
A new WWF report has painted a grim picture of the impact human activity is having on biodiversity around the world
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A new WWF report has painted a grim picture of the impact human activity is having on biodiversity around the world
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A new WWF report has painted a grim picture of the impact human activity is having on biodiversity around the world

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has released its latest Living Planet Report, an assessment of the health of our planet, and it paints a rather grim picture of the damage caused by humanity's growing footprint on Earth.

The WWF publishes its Living Planet Report every two years, and the last edition in 2016 described a sharp decline in global animal populations, with the number of vertebrates falling by well over half between 1970 and 2012. It warned that if no action was taken, this would result in some 67 percent of all animals disappearing by 2020.

Humanity's need for food and energy were noted as the most damaging factors, and two years on the reading doesn't get any better. The demand we place on the planet's natural resources to fuel our lifestyles continues to take a huge toll on biodiversity around the world. So much so, the WWF now says we've seen an average 60 percent decline in mammal, bird, fish, reptile and amphibian populations between 1970 and 2014, the year that data was last available.

This figure is based on the WWF's Living Planet Index, which tracks global diversity by monitoring 16,704 different populations of more than 4,000 vertebrate species around the world.

Habitat loss and degradation, along with behaviours like overfishing and overhunting, are listed as the top threats to animal species. The report also states that Earth has lost an estimated 50 percent of its shallow water corals in the last 30 years, along with a startling 20 percent of the Amazon.

"This report sounds a warning shot across our bow," says Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF-US. "Natural systems essential to our survival – forests, oceans, and rivers – remain in decline. Wildlife around the world continue to dwindle. It reminds us we need to change course. It's time to balance our consumption with the needs of nature, and to protect the only planet that is our home."

Despite the disheartening statistics, the WWF points out that it's not too late to turn things around, and that protecting nature helps protect people. The key challenge is changing our approach to development, which requires a global effort.

Source: WWF

7 comments
watersworm
Waow, what a precision ! How dis they count "wildlife population" in 1970. Besises, "wildlife" is a great great more than "big games". Are bacterias considered as "wildlife" ? If yes ...
eMacPaul
@watersworm, from the article: "This figure is based on the WWF's Living Planet Index, which tracks global diversity by monitoring 16,704 different populations of more than 4,000 vertebrate species around the world."
So, no bacteria.
Nelson Hyde Chick
News flash, as long as humanity is allowed to grow by billions more this will only get worse. By the time humanity has grown to ten billion the only life on this planet will be us humans, then species we exploit and the pests we can't eradicate. Go anthropocene!!!
bwana4swahili
Extinction events have occurred in the past and will occur in the future. Home sapiens may be the species to go extinct at some point BUT that doesn't mean the Earth will cease to exist or new species to evolve... If we're dumb enough to let it happen, we deserve what Mother Nature has in store!
ljaques
What is the normal rate of extinction from normal warming? Y'know, in between ice ages? (With population calculated out.)
I think most people agree that there are too many people disturbing things on the Earth. Maybe we should thank religions for paring those number totals down, given the numerous wars they create.
Nik
All these problems will be corrected by the next Glacial Period which is due in the not too distant future, in geological terms. When the world temperatures drop, and the main food growing areas, like the Prairies, and the Steppes dont, billions of humans will starve. The human population will be reduced to millions instead of billions. The tropical forests and their wildlife can then start to regenerate, and a New World Order will come into play, but not the one that humans may want to impose. The world society will collapse, as the populations needed to sustain it disappear. Sustainable agriculture will be forced onto the remaining populations. If this world was 'designed' then the glacial periods would be a natural negative feedback system to install, to act as a damper on population explosion. It may be, that this glacial period will be a repeat of the ''Snowball Earth'' event, and all life will disappear, except algae, and bacteria. Who knows what will develop after that? We wont know.
CAVUMark
The world is better of without humans, and so many humans too.