World Wildlife Has Fallen By Nearly 60 Percent In The Past 40 Years: WWF

Posted: Oct 26 2016, 11:42pm CDT | by , Updated: Oct 27 2016, 10:07pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 

World Wildlife has Fallen by Nearly 60 Percent in Past 40 Years: WWF
Courtesy of World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
 

If the current trend continues, the world could lose 67 percent of the wildlife population by 2020.

Global wildlife populations have dropped by 58 percent since 1970 and could plunge to a 67 percent level of decline by the end of 2020, according to WWF’s latest report.

Wildlife populations including mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles have declined significantly over the past few decades and human activities are the major driving force behind this shift. The size and scale of the human activities have grown exponentially since the mid-20th century. As a result, the processes responsible for diversity and complexity of biological communities could not maintain their balance and brought global biodiversity under increasing risk.

“Wildlife is disappearing within our lifetimes at an unprecedented rate,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International. “This is not just about the wonderful species we all love; biodiversity forms the foundation of healthy forests, rivers and oceans. Take away species, and these ecosystems will collapse along with the clean air, water, food and climate services that they provide us.”

The report is based on scientific data from 14,152 monitored populations of 3,706 vertebrate species (mammals, birds, fishes, amphibians, reptiles) from around the world and is detailed enough to provide the clear picture of the consequent degradation of ecosystems worldwide. According to the report, the most common threat to the declining wildlife populations is the habitat loss and the principal causes of habitat loss appear to be widespread modification by humans like converting forests into farmlands, logging and changes to freshwater systems.

“Human behaviour continues to drive the decline of wildlife populations globally, with particular impact in freshwater habitats. Importantly however, these are declines, they are not yet extinctions – and this should be a wake-up call to marshal efforts to promote the recovery of these populations.” Professor Ken Norris from Zoological Society of London said.

The biodiversity of oceans and seas which play a critical role in regulating Earth’s climate, and they also provide us with a wealth of benefits including food and livelihoods have fallen by 36 percent between 1970 and 2012.

The findings provide additional evidence that the planet is entering to a possible sixth mass extinction and researchers are already calling this period the Anthropocene.

“Palaeontologists characterize mass extinctions as biological or biotic crises defined by the loss of a vast amount of species in a relatively short geological time period. A mass extinction has occurred only five times in the past.” Report reads.

“Such is the magnitude of our impact on the planet that the Anthropocene might be characterized by the world’s sixth mass extinction event.”

“These are the first steps to identifying solutions for restoring the ecosystems we depend upon and creating resilient and hospitable places for wildlife and people. Acting upon this knowledge will enable us to navigate our way through the Anthropocene.”

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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