Published: Thu, November 01, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

Earth’s wildlife population declined by 60 per cent in 44 years: WWF

Earth’s wildlife population declined by 60 per cent in 44 years: WWF

Only one-quarter of the land on Earth is substantially free from human activity - and that percentage is expected to decline. "We may also be the last generation that can do something about it". It finds that the vast and growing consumption of food and resources by the global population is destroying the web of life, billions of years in the making, upon which human society ultimately depends for clean air, water and everything else.

Overall, populations of more than 4,000 species of mammals, reptiles, birds, fish and amphibians have declined by an average of 60 per cent since 1970, shortly after the astronaut Neil Armstrong planted the American flag and took his "giant leap for mankind" on the surface of the moon. "Nature globally provides services worth around $125 trillion a year. we need more research, efforts from government, business and financial sectors, researchers and conservation communities to revive the planet", said Ravi Singh, Secretary General and CEO, WWF-India.

Calling the wildlife and the ecosystem "vital to human life", the current chairman of an intergovernmental panel on biodiversity and world's most eminent environmental scientists said, "destruction of nature is as unsafe as climate change". Species highlighted include African elephants, which declined in number in Tanzania by 60 percent in just five years between 2009 and 2014, mainly due to ivory poaching. The report further goes on to identify the two key drivers of biodiversity loss - over exploitation of resources and agriculture, attributing 75% of species loss since 1500AD to these two factors.

"The future of millions of species on Earth seems not to have captured the imagination or attention of the world's leaders enough to catalyze the change necessary", the report says.

A new report from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) reveals the bitter truth that humans' environmental neglect is pushing many animals to extinction. Animal life dropped the most rapidly in tropical areas of Latin America and the Caribbean, with an 89 percent fall in populations since 1970, while species that rely on freshwater habitats, like frogs and river fish, declined in population by 83 percent. At the same time, we are shoving many species, plant, and animal, to extinction.

The world's seabirds have also been significantly affected by humans, with 90 percent estimated to have plastic in their stomachs today, up from 5 percent in 1960, the report said. "Pakistan is experiencing a steady rise in carbon emissions, which contributes to global issues such as climate change and global warming", he said. It remains 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".

The report states that as our reliance on natural reserves continues to grow, it's clear that nature is not just a "nice thing to have". The "shocking truth", said Barrett, is that the wildlife crash is continuing unabated.

Like this: