Two-thirds of the wild animals living on planet Earth will be dead by 2020, thus increasing the possibility of a total collapse of the planetary ecosystem, according to a new report released by the World Wildlife Fund.
The comprehensive Living Planet Report analyzed the data on 14,000 populations of 3,700 species of vertebrates, including the mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles that call planet Earth their home.
“Lose biodiversity and the natural world including the life support systems as we know them will collapse.”
The WWF report shows that since 1970 the Earth has lost 58 percent of its wildlife population, and at the rate we’re going, our planet is on track to lose two-thirds of all the wild animals in the world by 2020.
“Global biodiversity is declining at an alarming rate, putting the survival of other species and our own future at risk.”
The Earth has survived for millions of years, but the activities of mankind since the industrial revolution have seriously lowered the chances of our survival, and human actions continue to push the decline.
Scientists have been forced to name a new geological age because of humanity’s effect on the planet. They’re calling it the Anthropocene; the age of man,
WWF conservation scientist Martin Taylor told CNN,“This is definitely human impact, we’re in the sixth mass extinction. There’s only been five before this and we’re definitely in the sixth.”
The most common threat to wildlife survival is from habitat loss, deforestation, farming, urban development, overfishing, poaching, pollution, climate change, invasive species, destruction of wetlands, and natural resource extraction.
— New Scientist (@newscientist) October 27, 2016
The biggest loss of wildlife is occurring in freshwater rivers and lakes around the world as they are particularly vulnerable to pollution, the impact of man-made dams, and invasive species.
The list animals dying off is long and varied. It includes fish, frogs, tuna, vultures, elephants, sharks, rays, wolves, salamanders, and many more, according to the WWF report.
“The loss of biodiversity is just one of the warning signs of a planet in peril.”
All is not yet lost, however. It is possible to reverse these alarming trends, but immediate, decisive action is needed, according to the wildlife report.
“If humans can change the planet so profoundly, then it’s also in our power to put things right.”
Experts at the WWF point to a number of successful conservation efforts that have revived a species, like the giant panda breeding program, as proof the Earth can be saved. Improving the odds for humanity’s survival would mean moving toward renewable energy and sustainable products. Human beings would also have to reduce waste and eat less animal meat.
— 3tags (@3tags_org) October 27, 2016
Conservationists urge the people of the Earth to contact their elected representatives and urge them to take immediate action to save the planet’s wild animals.
It’s important to note the Living Planet Report isn’t peer reviewed as it would have been if it were published in a scientific journal. The comprehensive study has been published 11 times since 1998 by the conservation group.
Not all conservationists agree with the report. Duke University’s Stuart Pimm told National Public Radio that saying things like 58 percent of the Earth’s wildlife population has died oversimplifies the problem and creates unnecessary confusion.
“To call it apples and oranges would be too complimentary. It’s certainly true that wildlife is declining, and in some places it’s declining precipitously. But to try to come up with a single number that summarizes all the things that are going on in the oceans, in North America and Europe, Africa South America… into a single number doesn’t really tell you anything.”
What do you think of the new WWF report showing a massive extinction of the Earth’s wildlife?
[Featured Image by Mike Simons/Getty Images]