Humans Wiped Out 2/3s of the World’s Wildlife in 50 Years

Two major reports recently published show the grim future of the wildlife on our planet.

According to the Living Planet Report from the WWF, in a half a century, human activity has reduced the population of wildlife by 68 percent averagely.

The study analyzed the population sizes of 4,392 monitored species of fish, mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians from 1970 to 2016.

Serious Decline in Wildlife Populations

It was discovered that the populations in the Caribbean and Latin America had the worst case-94 percent decline in the populations.

This drastic decline signals a broken relationship between the natural world and humans, noted the WWF.

This report also singles out the habitat destruction we’ve caused as the major threat to biodiversity. Namely, the freshwater mammal, amphibian, bird, and reptile populations have dropped by averagely 4 percent every year since the 70s.

For chief scientist at the WWF, Rebecca Shaw, this is alarming news, even by their own measures of alarming.

This is a serious decline in the ecosystem in freshwaters, mostly because how we dam rivers and our use of freshwater to produce food for the growing population globally.

But, There Are Some Bright News too

The report did have some positive news. For example, they noted the efficacy of the human conservation efforts like the program in Pakistan which protects snow leopards and the campaign to save the crested ibis in Japan from extinction.

Without these and similar efforts, the study emphasizes that the number of extinctions of mammals and birds would’ve been twice higher in the last 10 years.

These countries also met partially some of the targets set by the UN like preventing the invasive species and conserving the protected areas.

Both the UN and the WWF emphasize that the pandemic is an example of threat to humans through the loss of global biodiversity.

Why Acting Fast Is Crucial for Preserving Planet’s Biodiversity

According to Shaw, despite the worrisome data, fast and proper action by the world could reverse the declining trends.

One study published in Nature showed that WWF’s models as potential ways to lower the decline of biodiversity like increasing the conservation of land and overhaul of the global food production.

Sources:

NPR

SMITHSONIAN MAG

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