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

Gwen Vasquez
November 1, 2018

The group says in its its 2018 Living Planet Report that global wildlife populations have fallen by 60 per cent in the last four decades. 'The collapse of wildlife populations over the last half-century is a shocking measure of humanity's impact on our planet, ' John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said in response to the report, joining WWF in calling for 'urgent action from world leaders.' 'From the decline of orangutans due to deforestation for palm oil to the ruinous impact of climate change on Arctic habitats to plastic pollution destroying marine wildlife, we can not continue with business as usual, ' he added.

The WWF report warns that if action is not taken to reduce the flow of plastics into the sea, models predict that plastic will be found in the digestive tracts of 99 per cent of all seabird species by 2050. "Science is showing us the harsh reality our forests, oceans and rivers are enduring at our hands".

"We can not build a prosperous future for Europe and its citizens on a depleted planet, so economic and environmental agendas must converge if we are to build a sustainable Europe for all", said Ester Asin, Director of WWF's European Policy Office.

"Exploding" levels of human consumption are driving the impacts on nature, with over-exploitation of natural resources and the use of pesticides in agriculture. We can be the founders of a global movement that changed our relationship with the planet.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

The report suggests that this generation may be the last who can can act to reverse the trend.

The issue at the crux of biodiversity loss, the report says, is humanity's "runaway consumption", with agricultural intensification, deforestation of land for agriculture and overexploitation of certain species acting as key threats.

Between 1970 and 2014, Earth lost nearly 60% decline of its mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians, almost all of it due to human activity.

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"It is a wakeup call for our east coast to appear alongside notorious forest destruction hot spots such as the Amazon, Congo Basin, Sumatra and Borneo", WWF Australia boss Dermot O'Gorman said.

"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.

It suggests that India's ecological footprint is among the lowest at less than 1.75 global hectares per person. It also says that nearly 301 mammal species are at the risk of getting extinct due to being hunted for food.

"Biodiversity has been described as the "infrastructure" that supports all life on Earth".

The report highlights the opportunity the global community has to protect and restore nature leading up to 2020, a critical year when leaders are expected to review the progress made on the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Now, the WWF is saying an global deal in the vein of the Paris climate agreement is "essential" to address the issues facing both nature and humans.

"Europe must lead by example by adopting an ambitious post-2020 European Union biodiversity strategy, and integrating biodiversity and climate protection into all relevant sectoral policies", she said.

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