The world’s wildlife population has decreased by 60% in the last four decades, according to a new report from the World Wildlife Federation (WWF)
The WWF’s Living Planet Report 2018 examines the impact of human activities on populations of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles since 1970.
“The astonishing decline in wildlife populations shown by the latest Living Planet Index – a 60% fall in just over 40 years – is a grim reminder and perhaps the ultimate indicator of the pressure we exert on the planet,” said WWF Director General Marco Lambertini, in a release.
“Today, we have the knowledge and means to redefine our relationship with the planet. There is no excuse for inaction. We can no longer ignore the warning signs; doing so would be at our own peril.”
The report notes that species are most at risk in the tropics with South and Central America experiencing the steepest decline. Those regions have seen an 83% decrease in wildlife since 1970.
Freshwater species have also declined, as statistics show an 83% drop since 1970.
Wildlife in Canada is also at risk. The WWF’s recent Living Planet Report Canada found that half of the wildlife species in Canada are declining, and of those, the decline is 83%.
“For the half of monitored species with declining trends, the Living Planet Index shows, on average, a decline of 83%, from 1970 to 2014,” says WWF.
In Canada, the depletion in wildlife is a result of the following factors: habitat loss, climate change, pollution, invasive species, unsustainable harvest, and cumulative and cascading effects.
“Decades of documented declines show us that we won’t see wildlife recovery unless we all make it a priority – in all facets of our lives,” said Megan Leslie, WWF-Canada president and CEO, in a release.
“As a society, our decisions about land use, energy, fuel, pollution and consumption together determine which species get a fighting chance and which wildlife get left behind.”