WWF report: Mass wildlife loss caused by human consumption


The report has pointed out that an global biodiversity assessment earlier this year had noted that only a quarter of land on Earth is substantively free of human activities. Together, we must mobilize public and private actors to show greater action and ambition to reverse the devastating trend of biodiversity loss. It also says that nearly 301 mammal species are at the risk of getting extinct due to being hunted for food. Specifically, the report monitored vertebrate species, or animals with a backbone, with database containing information on over 22,000 population of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), after tracking the record of about 17,000 populations of aquatic and terrestrial vertebrates for over four decades, suggested that the populations of animal species have shrunk by an average of 60 percent in between 1970 and 2014. "That is the scale of what we have done." said Mike Barrett, science and conservation director at WWF.

Wildlife and the ecosystems are vital to human life, said Prof Bob Watson, one of the world's most eminent environmental scientists and now chair of an intergovernmental panel on biodiversity that said in March that the destruction of nature is as risky as climate change.

Dr Morné du Plessis, chief executive of WWF South Africa said the organisation was "pushing hard for a new global deal for nature and people to address the crucial questions, including how we feed a growing global population, how we limit global warming below two degrees Celsius and how we restore nature".

The key drivers of biodiversity decline remain overexploitation and agriculture.

The report says that the biggest challenge-and biggest opportunity-lies in changing our approach to development and remember that protecting nature also helps protect people. Animal life dropped the most rapidly in tropical areas of Latin America and the Caribbean, with an 89 percent fall in populations since 1970, while species that rely on freshwater habitats, like frogs and river fish, declined in population by 83 percent.

The population of the critically endangered gharial (crocodile species) declined by approximately 58 per cent between 1997 and 2006 across its range in India and Nepal.

The 145-page study covers everything from the importance of nature in our lives and the world's economies to global threats and pressures to what future we want for our planet.

The report is the 12th edition of WWF's biennial flagship publication. "We have to get it right this time". The increased demand for energy, land and water over the past 50 years has also increased our global ecological footprint (one measure of our consumption of natural resources) by over 190%.

The WWF conservation group is out with the results of a massive new assessment of the world's wildlife, and things are looking pretty grim.

Their latest global report claims wildlife is dying out faster than ever and says nature needs worldwide "life support".