Earth's Wild Animal Population Plummets 60 Per Cent In 44 Years: WWF

Earth's Wild Animal Population Plummets 60 Per Cent In 44 Years: WWF

Earth's Wild Animal Population Plummets 60 Per Cent In 44 Years: WWF

Worldwide action is needed over the next two years in order to stem the tide of natural destruction, the organization noted, urging world governments and businesses to strike a deal similar to the 2016 Paris agreement for climate change.

The report highlights for instance that only a quarter of land on Earth is now substantively free of the impacts of human activity, warning that it is projected to plummet to just one-tenth in 2050.

They examined 16,700 populations of 4,000 species of mammals, reptiles, birds, fish and amphibians and found that they had declined by an average of 60 per cent between 1970 and 2014, the most recent year for which data is available.

Tropical areas have seen the worst declines, with an 89% fall in populations monitored in Latin America and the Caribbean since 1970.

Pictured in this gallery are some examples of species being affected, according to WWF.

Their latest global report claims wildlife is dying out faster than ever and says nature needs worldwide "life support".

The WWF conservation group is out with the results of a massive new assessment of the world's wildlife, and things are looking pretty grim.

The percentage of the world's seabirds with plastic in their stomach is estimated to have increased from 5% in 1960 to 90% today, and the world has already lost around half its shallow water corals in just 30 years.

While climate change is a growing threat, the report said the overexploitation of species for consumption, agriculture, and activities such as land conversion and habitat loss were the top threats to biodiversity.

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The organisation calls for world leaders to reach "the most ambitious worldwide agreement yet" to curb biodiversity loss, emphasising that the world faces a "rapidly closing window for action an an unparalleled opportunity as we head into the year 2020".

WWF UK Chief Executive Tanya Steele added in a statement, "We are the first generation to know we are destroying our planet and the last one that can do anything about it". "In the next years, we need to urgently transition to a net carbon-neutral society and halt and reverse nature loss - through green finance and shifting to clean energy and environmentally friendly food production", he said.

"Our wanton destruction of nature, coupled with the brutal chaos of climate change, is the biggest threat to humanity".

"The situation is really bad, and it keeps getting worse", WWF International Director-General Marco Lambertini told AFP.

"One was the realisation that climate change was unsafe for the economy and society, not just polar bears", he said. Globally, natural resources are estimated to provide services - for example, pollination of plants - worth 125trillion United States dollars (£97trillion) a year. "Natural systems essential to our survival - forests, oceans, and rivers - remain in decline", he said.

The group is pushing for "a target that should be equivalent to the 2 degrees target (to limit global temperature rises) of the Paris agreement, and we still have to work out what the target is", Lambertini said.

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

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.

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