In five decades, global wildlife populations decline by 70 percent, says WWF

Featuring data from 32,000 populations of more than 5,000 species of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish, the WWF study shows accelerating falls across the globe.

Staff Correspondent
October 14

The population of monitored wildlife animals have decreased by 70 percent over the last 50 years, reveals a comprehensive study report, which has called for “urgent action” to “reverse the loss”.

The Living Planet Report 2022 is a comprehensive study of trends in global biodiversity and the health of the planet.

The flagship WWF Living Planet Index reveals an average decline of 69% in species populations since 1970. The assessment report highlights “devastating” losses to nature due to human activity.

The Living Planet Index (LPI) – which tracked populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians over a 50 years period – reveals an average 69% decrease in monitored wildlife populations since 1970.

Featuring data from 32,000 populations of more than 5,000 species of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish, the study shows accelerating falls across the globe.

The 2022 LPI analysed almost 32,000 species populations. It provides the most comprehensive measure of how they are responding to pressures in their environment.

In biodiversity-rich regions such as Latin America and the Caribbean, the figure for animal population loss is as high as 94pc.

Globally, the report found that monitored animal populations had fallen 69pc since 1970.

Interlinked Emergencies: Climate Change and Biodiversity:

“The evidence is unequivocal – we are living through the dual crises of biodiversity loss and climate change driven by the unsustainable use of our planet’s resources. Scientists are clear, unless we stop treating these emergencies as two separate issues neither problem will be addressed effectively, the report highlights.

“The Living Planet Report 2022 shows how climate change and biodiversity loss are not only environmental issues but economic, development, security issues too- and they must therefore be addressed together”
Ravi Singh,Secretary General & CEO, WWF India said in his comments about the landmark study report.

Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International, said his organisation was “extremely worried” by the new data.

“[It shows] a devastating fall in wildlife populations, in particular in tropical regions that are home to some of the most biodiverse landscapes in the world,” he said.

Mark Wright, director of science at WWF, said the figures were “truly frightening”, particularly for Latin America.

“Latin America is renowned for its biodiversity, of course, it’s really important for lots of other things as well,” he said.

The study has found that freshwater species had declined more than those found in any other habitat, with an 83pc population fall since 1970.

Main Driver of Wildlife Loss:

As per the report, the main drivers of wildlife loss are habitat degradation due to development and farming, exploitation, the introduction of invasive species, pollution, climate change, and disease.

The report has found that monitored freshwater populations have declined by an average of 83% since 1970, more than any other species groups. “Habitat loss and barriers to migration routes account for around half the threats to these populations”, it said.

Calling for “urgent action”, the Living Planet Report argues that increasing conservation and restoration efforts, producing and consuming food more sustainably, and rapidly and deeply decarbonising all sectors can alleviate the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.

It also calls for governments to properly factor into policymaking the value of services rendered by nature, such as food, medicine and water supply.

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