Global wildlife numbers fall by 60pc due to ‘exploding’ human activity


The Living Planet Report 2018 presents a comprehensive overview of the state of our natural world, twenty years after the flagship report was first published.

The Living Planet Report 2018 also focuses on the value of nature to people's health and that of our societies and economies.

Internationally, the organization found that wildlife population declines are especially significant in the tropics, with an 89 per cent loss reported in South and Central America and the Caribbean since 1970.

At the Northumbrian Hedgehog Rescue Trust just outside Morpeth, where a team of volunteers cares for hundreds of sickly and underweight specimens every year, they fear the species is heading for extinction.

A startling report from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has shown that Earth's wildlife population declined by almost two-thirds over the course of just over four decades.

Unless humanity collectively pulled together now the situation would only worsen - to the detriment of humanity, the director general of the leading conservation organisation said. Barrett also said that this decimation is jeopardizing the future of humanity.

All human economic activity ultimately depends on nature, the report said, with globally natural resources estimated to provide services worth $125 trillion a year.

The report tracks more than 16,000 populations and 4,000 species through the Living Planet Index provided by the Zoological Society of London. "It's time to balance our consumption with the needs of nature, and protect the only planet that is our home".

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The top threats to species identified in the report are directly linked to human activities, including habitat loss and degradation and overexploitation of wildlife.

"It's clear that efforts to stem the loss of biodiversity have not worked and business as usual will amount to, at best, a continued, managed decline", the report said.

Calling the wildlife and the ecosystem "vital to human life", the current chairman of an intergovernmental panel on biodiversity and world's most eminent environmental scientists said, "destruction of nature is as unsafe as climate change". Species highlighted include African elephants, which declined in number in Tanzania by 60 percent in just five years between 2009 and 2014, mainly due to ivory poaching. It said humans are "pushing the planet to the brink" and taking "an unprecedented toll on wildlife". The astonishing decline in wildlife populations is a grim reminder and perhaps the ultimate indicator of the pressure we exert on the planet'.

This change over the last 50 years, described as the 'Great Acceleration, ' had had many positives - but also negatives Mr Gaffney wrote.

"When you lose biodiversity and world becomes biologically and aesthetically a poorer place", Keith Somerville, a professor in human-wildlife conflict at Kent University, told NBC News.

"If we want a world with orang-utans 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 programme of recovery".

Australia's deforestation along the east coast put us among the worst in the world and the only developed country on the list of big deforesters, according to the report.