Wildlife populations across the globe have fallen by 58% in just over 40 years, according to the Living Planet assessment. The assessment is published every two years with the goal of assessing the state of wildlife across the world.
The report highlights large decreases for freshwater species, as a result of human activity, as well as larger species that are prone to over-exploitation and poaching. The world is currently experiencing a mass extinction event, only the 6th in the history of life, and the endangered species list is consistently growing. Current trends show that two-thirds of wild animals will be lost by 2020. There are a number of factors that cause wildlife populations to decline, including major habitat loss and development of wild areas, pollution, overfishing, poaching, wildlife trade and climate change.
The method for collecting this data is not perfect and has been criticised, however given the complexity of determining wildlife populations, this is as close as we can get to assessing the overall state of wildlife populations.
The statistics and predictions are shocking, but the continued decline of wildlife is not inevitable, and with swift and direct conservation action species can recover. This study must be seen as a wake up call to all of us to assess how we interact with wildlife and to demand better environmental practices from our governments and businesses. Humans are directly causing the extinction of thousands of species, but we also have the power and the opportunity to turn the tide. We need more people to fight for wildlife protection and conservation before it is too late.
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