Published: Tue, October 30, 2018
Science | By

Earth’s wildlife population declined by 60 per cent in 44 years: WWF

Earth’s wildlife population declined by 60 per cent in 44 years: WWF

"And this is when the world should embrace a new global deal for nature and people, as we did in Paris, and truly demonstrate the path we are choosing for people and the planet", Lambertini urged.

The organisation's Living Planet Report 2018 says nine out of 10 of the world's seabirds are thought to have plastic in their stomachs, while by 2050 only one tenth of the planet's land will be free from human impact.

Overall, populations of more than 4000 species of mammals, reptiles, birds, fish and amphibians have declined by an average of 60 per cent between 1970 and 2014, the most recent year for which data is available.

Pictured in this gallery are some examples of species being affected, according to WWF. Sounding a grim warning, officials at the global conservation body said that humanity needs to "change course" before it is too late.

The numbers of freshwater wildlife species showed a dramatic decline of 83% over the same period.

The percentage of seabirds with plastic in their stomach has increased to 90 per cent from 5 per cent in 1960, a shocking report reveals.

"From the decline of orangutans due to deforestation for palm oil to the ruinous impact of climate change on Arctic habitats to plastic pollution destroying marine wildlife, we can not continue with business as usual", he added.

With the world set to review progress on sustainable development and conserving biodiversity under United Nations agreements by 2020, there is a chance for action in the next two years, WWF argues. "We need a new global deal for nature", said Mr. Lambertini, noting two key ingredients in the 195-nation Paris climate treaty.

Final quote: "We are the first generation to know we are destroying our planet and the last one that can do anything about it", says Tanya Steele, the WWF's chief executive in the UK.

"If we want a world with orangutans and puffins, clean air and enough food for everyone, we need urgent action from our leaders and a new global deal for nature and people that kick starts a global program of recovery".

WWF International Director General Marco Lambertini said the impact of unsustainable production models and wasteful lifestyles could not be ignored any longer. Globally, natural resources are estimated to provide services - for example, pollination of plants - worth 125trillion USA dollars (£97trillion) a year.

"A healthy, sustainable future for all is only possible on a planet where nature thrives and forests, oceans and rivers are teeming with biodiversity and life", said Lambertini.

Species highlighted include African elephants, which declined in number in Tanzania by 60% in just five years between 2009 and 2014, mainly due to ivory poaching.

Puffins are among species facing population loss, a new report warns.

He said global warming also plays a role.

Deforestation in Borneo, created to make way for timber and palm oil plantations, led to the loss of 100,000 orangutans between 1999 and 2015, the report estimated.

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