Earth Has Lost 60 Percent of Its Wildlife Since 1970

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Scientists from WWF have been monitoring the decline of wildlife around the world over the last 20 years, and concluded that a wide variety is disappearing fast.

Sharing his thoughts at the launch of the report, WWF-Pakistan Director General Hammad Naqi Khan said that the Living Planet Index (LPI), which tracks trends in global wildlife abundance, indicated that global populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles declined, on average, by 60 per cent between 1970 and 2014.

The report uses the term "Great Acceleration" as the unique event we are now experiencing in the 4.5 billion-year history of the planet with exploding human population and economic growth driving unprecedented planetary change through the increased demand for energy, land and water.

In the years since man first walked on the moon, his footprint back on back on earth has polluted three-quarters of the planet, and caused the wildlife population to plummet by a catastrophic 60 per cent, an global report warns today. "Natural systems essential to our survival - forests, oceans, and rivers - remain in decline", he said.

Over recent decades, human activity has also severely impacted the habitats and natural resources wildlife and humanity depend on, such as oceans, forests, coral reefs, wetlands and mangroves.

As the report says, we are the first generation to have a clear picture of the value of nature and our impact on it.

In Canada, the depletion in wildlife is a result of the following factors: habitat loss, climate change, pollution, invasive species, unsustainable harvest, and cumulative and cascading effects.

The worst-hit species include hedgehogs, which declined by 75 per cent in urban parts of the United Kingdom from 2002 to 2014, and puffins, which are facing losses of up to 79 per cent by 2065.

Current action to protect nature fails to match the scale of the threat facing the planet, the conservationists claim.

"In a nutshell, it's our own human activity that is leading to these declines", said James Snider, vice-president of science, research and innovation at WWF.

"This report sounds a warning shot across our bow", says Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF-US. The WWF likewise noted that "all hope is not lost".

The report calls for a "global deal for nature", similar to the Paris Climate Agreement, to set more ambitious conservation goals.

Wildlife populations in Latin America and the Caribbean have fallen 89% since 1970 and climate-warming carbon dioxide levels are estimated to be at their highest for 800,000 years.

"We need to radically escalate the political relevance of nature and galvanize a cohesive movement across state and non-state actors to drive change, to ensure that public and private decision-makers understand that business as usual is not an option", it adds.

Despite numerous international scientific studies and policy agreements confirming that the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity is a global priority, worldwide trends in biodiversity continue to decline.