A shocking report says the number of animals in the world has decreased more than previously thought. The London Zoological Society (or ZSL), along with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), corrected earlier statistics and says the world’s animal population has halved over the last four decades by an astounding 52 percent. At the center of near mass-extinctions are poaching, encroachment (habit destruction), and climate change to a smaller degree.
Researchers with ZSL say that in the group’s Living Planet Index, the population counts for reptiles, mammals, and amphibians (including birds and fish) are dropping. Unless there is a global conservation push, many of the species will be extinct in short order. Even more alarming is the fact freshwater species of marine animals have been reduced by a stunning 76 percent.
Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF, released a statement on the new animal statistics and population counts.
“We’re gradually destroying our planet’s ability to support our way of life. But we already have the knowledge and tools to avoid the worst predictions. We all live on a finite planet and its time we started acting within those limits.”
Evidently, a new process to account for the population of global animal species revealed the alarming results. Nevertheless, some critics say the methodologies used to arrive at the new figures of global animal population are not statistically significant. No matter; many experts still agree that the fate of animals is bleak, and aggressive intervention is necessary — now.
Another spokesperson explains the new data set on population decline in the animal kingdom and why the planet has lost half of its wildlife in 40 years.
“For example, if most measurements in a particular region are of bird populations, but the greatest actual number of vertebrates in the region are fish, then it is necessary to give a greater weighting to measurements of fish populations if we are to have an accurate picture of the rate of population decline for species in that region.
“Different weightings are applied between regions, and between marine, terrestrial and freshwater environments. We are simply being more sophisticated with the way we use the data. Applying the new method to the 2008 dataset we find that things were considerably worse than what we thought at the time. It is clear that we are seeing a significant long-term trend in declining species populations.”
Scientists tracking the world’s animal population counts point out that humans account for the largest impact on why species are vanishing or being reduced at accelerated rates. As human numbers increase, there is competition and demand for the planet’s limited resources.
Trees are being cut down faster than they can be replaced through seeding. Man is fishing the world’s oceans faster than Mother Nature can restock aquatic sustenance. And new advances in technology allows water to be siphoned and redirected faster than rainfall can refill lakes and rivers. This has a direct impact on why the world’s animal population has been halved in 40 years, citing a Business Insider report.
As a consequence, climate change takes place with unintended results because faster automation means more carbon is being emitted into the atmosphere and oceans, which robs some areas of oxygen supplies. Mass animal die-offs often follow.
The news about a dramatic reduction in the world’s animal population is bittersweet in some respects. For instance, another recent report highlights the rising numbers of the Nepal tiger population. Reportedly, the big cat species population has risen by 63 percent.
Moreover, based on a television broadcast by Animal Planet, the Siberian tiger, which at one point only numbered about 50, has seen proliferation in its population density over the years. Today, thanks to conservation efforts, there are about 500 of the apex carnivore in Russia.
Nonetheless, to put the new report in perspective, all-tiger species once numbered 100,000 over a century ago. Today, they have dwindled to about 3,000.
With the claim the world’s animal population across all species has halved in just 40 years, will opponents to climate change and habitat destruction have an honest conversation?
[Image via: WWF]