WWF: Wildlife Down By 58 Percent Since 1970
(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Last week, World Wild Fund released alarming data about the rapidly decreasing number of wild animals in the world. According to an index compiled by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), between 1970 and 2012 the world has seen a decline of 58 percent in wildlife populations (mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles). The organization estimates this figure could go up to 67 percent by 2020 at current rates of extinction.
This figure shows an acceleration of wildlife eradication that conservation efforts are failing to curb as in 2010 the number stood at 52 percent. The figure also further cements the theory that we have now entered the Anthropocene, that is, a geological period driven by human activities.
The data appears in WWF’s Living Planet Report, the NGO’s biennial wildlife compendium. "Lose biodiversity and the natural world including the life support systems as we know them will collapse. We depend on nature for the air we breathe, water we drink, the food and materials we use and the economy we rely on, and not least, for our health, inspiration and happiness," said Marco Lambertini, WWF International's director general.
The index tracks about 14,200 populations of 3,700 species of vertebrates. These cover all animals ranging in size from tiny frogs to massive whales.
The increase in human population is the driving force behind the disappearance of other animals, as habitats make way for farms and cities. Pollution, invasive species, hunting and climate change are also cited as contributing factors.
To sound a positive note amidst all the doom and gloom, WWF says the Paris Agreement signed by almost 200 nations to curb climate change can potentially help protect tropical forests, slow the spread of deserts and curb an acidification of oceans due to more carbon in oceans.
Other actions such as the UN’s plan for sustainable development aimed at ending poverty by 2030 with environmentally-friendly policies could also help mitigate the damage to wildlife if properly implemented.
Image source: WWF