Humanity Has Wiped Out 60 Percent Of Animal Life Since 1970 According To New Study

Scientists say human interference is contributing to the mass extinction of many different animal populations.

An image of two zebras getting close to one another in nature.
Pixabay

Scientists say human interference is contributing to the mass extinction of many different animal populations.

Humanity has caused major destruction for many different animal populations, People is reporting. 59 scientists contributed to a study conducted by the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) entitled “Our Living Planet Report 2018.” What the scientists found was shocking. 60 percent of animal life — including birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles — has been made extinct since the year 1970. The culprit of this mass extinction? Human civilization.

Due to humanity’s use of food and resources, scientists say that the “web of life” that nature initially developed is now being destroyed. Messing with the web of life results in degradation of the necessary components to life — such as water and clean air — the scientists say. Mike Barrett, executive director of science and conservation at WWF, put the findings in perspective, so that the public can get a better understanding of the damage that has been done.

“We are sleepwalking towards the edge of a cliff,” Barrett said in an interview with the Guardian. “If there was a 60 percent decline in the human population, that would be equivalent to emptying North America, South America, Africa, Europe, China and Oceania. That is the scale of what we have done.”

The biggest causes of the web of life’s destruction are humanity’s eradication of natural habitats, our approach of killing for food, and increased chemical pollution. While conservation efforts are being made, the WWF believes that it’s going to take drastic changes — stemming from a worldwide commitment to respecting nature — to make any appreciable difference. According to Barrett, making a difference in how we treat nature won’t just help the animals — it’ll help humanity too.

“This is far more than just being about losing the wonders of nature, desperately sad though that is,” he explained. “This is actually now jeopardizing the future of people. Nature is not a ‘nice to have’ – it is our life-support system.”

Others findings show that the world may already be in too deep. Some scientists are saying that we are beginning to experience the planet’s sixth mass extinction, as humanity has destroyed 83 percent of mammals and half of the earth’s plants since civilization began billions of years ago. The damage could take approximately 5 to 7 million years to repair. These findings came from an analysis of the Living Planet Index, created by the WWF for the Zoological Society of London. The index contains 16,704 populations of over 4,000 different species.

There are some conservation efforts that are working, however. For instance, the population of tigers in India has grown by 20 percent over six years due to humans agreeing to protect their habitats. The scientists are hoping more conservation ideas and measures will arise at the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity in 2020.