Global wildlife populations have fallen by 58 per cent since 1970, a report says. The Living Planet assessment by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) suggests that if the trend continues that decline could reach two-thirds among vertebrates by 2020.
The figures suggest that animals living in lakes, rivers and wetlands are suffering the biggest losses. Human activity, including habitat loss, wildlife trade, pollution and climate change contributed to the declines.
Dr. Mike Barrett. head of science and policy at WWF, said: “It’s pretty clear under ‘business as usual’ we will see continued declines in these wildlife populations. But I think now we’ve reached a point where there isn’t really any excuse to let this carry on.” However, the methodology of the report has been criticised.
The Living Planet Report is published every two years and aims to provide an assessment of the state of the world’s wildlife. This analysis looked at 3,700 different species of birds, fish, mammals, amphibians and reptiles — about 6 per cent of the total number of vertebrate species in the world.