Humans Wiping Out Wildlife at Breathtaking Rate — WWF

Cristina Cross
November 1, 2018

"The Living Planet report clearly demonstrates that human activities are destroying nature at an unacceptable rate, threatening the wellbeing of current and future generations".

Global wildlife like the black crested macaque has been decimated, say the WWF.

The findings of the 2018 Living Planet Report are based on the "Living Planet Index" that tracked the trends of no less than 16,704 populations of 4,005 vertebrate species over the past 40 years.

Populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians have declined by 60 percent, on average, since 1970.

"We are sleepwalking toward the edge of a cliff", said Mike Barrett, executive director of science and conservation at WWF.

And as an added warning to the WWF report on Monday, a new study published in the journal PNAS, led by S. Blair Hedges at the Center for Biodiversity at Temple University in the USA, found that less than one percent of the primary forest in Haiti remains, and that many endemic species, especially amphibians and reptiles, have been wiped out with the trees.

As a result, global wildlife populations have declined 60 per cent between 1970 and 2014. The organization, along with conservationists and scientists across the globe, is calling for a global agreement, a "global deal for nature" similar to the Paris Climate Agreement.

This huge loss in the number of animals is mainly attributed to human activities, such as deforestation, overgrazing, and hunting endangered animals".

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More species referenced in the report as those whose populations are in decline include black and white rhinos, polar bears, African grey parrots, hedgehogs, whale sharks, Bornean orangutans, puffins and the wandering albatross.

The constriction of populations has been most dramatic in Central and South America and in the Caribbean: there, vertebrate abundance is only 11 percent of what it was in 1970.

"Some of Earth's systems -- forests, oceans -- have been absorbing these impacts for decades".

We are in the midst of a scary phenomenon right now being called "the Great Acceleration". They also provide incredible benefits to human beings.

"We have an opportunity to design a new path forward that allows us to co-exist sustainably with the wildlife we depend upon", he said.

WWF United States President Carter Roberts said it was time to balance consumption with the needs of nature. It's not even a blink of an eye compared to the history of life on Earth.' 'Now that we have the power to control and even damage nature, we continue to (use) it as if we were the hunters and gatherers of 20,000 years ago, with the technology of the 21st century, ' he added.

"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.

"With the upcoming European Union elections and the resulting renewal of key decision-making bodies, Europe has the opportunity to revive its global leadership on climate change and nature conservation", Asin said.

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