Global wildlife populations are set to fall by more than two-thirds since 1970 by the end of the decade, warns the Living Planet report by WWF and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).
The assessment of more than 14,000 populations of 3706 species of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles from around the world reveals a 58 per cent fall between 1970 and 2012 – with no sign that the average yearly 2 per cent drop in numbers will slow.
The figures have prompted experts to warn that nature is facing a global “mass extinction” for the first time since the demise of the dinosaurs.
Species are being affected by unsustainable agriculture, fishing, mining and other human activities that threaten habitats, as well as climate change and pollution. “Human behaviour continues to drive the decline of wildlife populations globally, with particular impact on freshwater habitats,” said Ken Norris, director of science at ZSL. But he stressed that, so far, these are declines rather than extinctions. “This should be a wake-up call to marshal efforts to promote the recovery of these populations,” he said.
We share the planet with a host of other creatures. That host is being reduced by human activity. We should be conserving them. To suggest that the cause is not global climate change simply illustrates the ignorance of part of the public and their determination to ignore and denigrate scientists at every opportunity. Talk about cutting off one’s nose to spite ones face!