January 20, 2019

Wild animal population has dropped by 60 percent since 1970

01 November 2018, 01:26 | Ross Houston

Humans are wiping out life of earth says WWF with many species in danger of disappearing

This is the last generation that can save nature - WWF

The Living Planet Index, provided by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and included in the WWF Living Planet 2018 report, tracks trends in global wildlife and measured the population of vertebrates between 1970 and 2014, the latest year for which data was available.

"This is when the world should embrace a new global deal for nature and people, as we did for climate in Paris, and truly demonstrate the path we are choosing for people and the planet", said Mr Lambertini, the director general. Shallow-water coral reefs have been cut in half in the last 30 years, and about 20 percent of the Amazon rainforest has disappeared over the last 50 years, the authors found.

Humanity has wiped out 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970, leading the world's foremost experts to warn that the annihilation of wildlife is now an emergency that threatens civilisation.

Tropical areas have seen the worst declines, with an 89pc fall in populations monitored in Latin America and the Caribbean since 1970.

The study tracked global wildlife trends across 16,704 populations of 4,005 vertebrate species.

The WWF's report comes just weeks after a United Nations report on climate change warned that global temperatures are rising quickly, and risk rising to 1.5 degrees, which would wipe out most of the planet's coral reefs and cause severe heatwaves. "The decline of species and damage to the natural systems we all depend on will ultimately have negative impacts on our health, societies and economies".

The report based on the ongoing survey of more than 4,000 species spread over 16,700 populations suggest that that situation is awful right now and it is getting worse with the increase in our unbridled consumption.

Marine and freshwater ecosystems are also facing huge pressures.

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With the world set to review progress on sustainable development and conserving biodiversity under United Nations agreements by 2020, there is a window of opportunity in the next two years, the group argued.

"Our wanton destruction of nature, coupled with the brutal chaos of climate change, is the biggest threat to humanity".

The report urged that humans take immediate action to stop irreversible changes to the planet, including boosts in green energy resources along with environmentally friendly food production. "We are going to need your help to achieve it", said Prof.

WWF regards the directive as "one of the EU's most progressive pieces of environmental legislation to date", saying it plays a vital role in protecting Europe's rivers, lakes, groundwater and wetlands from overexploitation.

"One was the realisation that climate change was risky for the economy and society, not just polar bears", he said. "This is projected to decline to just one-tenth by 2050", said the report.

The authors urged the 200 member countries of the Convention on Biological Diversity to come up with a set of worldwide goals to protect animal species when they meet next month in Egypt.

More generally, the marginal capacity of Earth's ecosystems to renew themselves has been far outstripped by humanity's ecological footprint, which has almost tripled in 50 years.

The population of the critically endangered gharial (crocodile species) declined by approximately 58 per cent between 1997 and 2006 across its range in India and Nepal.

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