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Humans Wiping Out Wildlife at Breathtaking Rate — WWF
01 November 2018, 02:40 | Justin Tyler
Earth’s wildlife population declined by 60 per cent in 44 years: WWF
From 1970 to 2014, 60 per cent of all animals with a backbone - fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals - were wiped out by human activity, according to WWF's"Living Planet" report, based on an ongoing survey of more than 4,000 species spread over 16,700 populations scattered across the globe.
The key drivers of biodiversitydecline remain overexploitation and agriculture. These two regions have seen an 89% reduction in the number of native species during the same period, as reported by WWF. It is a function of population and consumption rates. This is mainly because of its large population and overall consumption demands.
More broadly, WWF is asking for the European Union to mainstream climate and biodiversity protection into key economic sectors, including policies related to agriculture, infrastructure development, and climate and energy. The welfare of up to 3 billion people who rely on wildlife to eat and work has reduced because of land degradation, and services relying on nature are worth around $125 trillion globally, the reportsaid. Also, WWF reported that the world's species populations dropped by 60% over the past 50 years.
Conservationists have issued a demand for urgent global action after a major report uncovered an unprecedented crisis in nature that threatens to devastate the world economy and imperil humanity itself.
The India fact sheet quotes a Tamil Nadu Agricultural University study, which found that India now has only 1.2 million bee colonies as against 150 million bee colonies needed to meet pollination requirements for agriculture in the country.
Additional sources of pressure on nature are - invasive pollution, dams, fires, mining, and climate change.
The world's seabirds have also been significantly affected by humans, with 90 percent estimated to have plastic in their stomachs today, up from 5 percent in 1960, the report said. The population of the critically endangered Gharial across its range in India and Nepal declined by 58% between 1997 and 2206.
For the new assessment, the WWF used the Global Living Planet Index that tracks the population abundance of thousands of vertebrates from around the world to measure changes in biodiversity. Globally, natural resources are estimated to provide services - for example, pollination of plants - worth 125trillion United States dollars (£97trillion) a year.
Additionally, since 1950, nearly 6 billion tons of fish and invertebrates have been taken from the oceans. Researchers, present a sobering picture of the impact of human activity on the world's wildlife, forests, oceans, rivers and climate, underlining the rapidly closing window for action and the urgent need for the global community to collectively rethink and redefine how we value, protect and restore nature.
"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.
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