Yikes! Global animal populations are roughly 50% smaller than they were in 1970!
We must quickly reverse the trend!The 2014 Living Planet Report, created by the Zoological Society of London and the WWF, contains many alarming facts about the state of our planet's species. The most shocking one is no doubt that over the past 40 years, the populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish have declined by an average of 52%. That's enormous!
Many species are being decimatedThe biggest victim of this disaster are freshwater species, with an average decline of 76% according to the Living Planet Report. "The main threats to freshwater species are habitat loss and fragmentation, pollution and invasive species. Changes to water levels and freshwater system connectivity – for example through irrigation and hydropower dams – have a major impact on freshwater habitats."
Then we have terrestrial species with a 39% decline in the 4 decades between 1970 and 2010. "[A] trend that shows no sign of slowing down. The loss of habitat to make way for human land use – particularly for agriculture, urban development and energy production – continues to be a major threat, compounded by hunting." Of course, hunting doesn't just mean legal hunting. Poaching is a huge problem for certain species, as we've extensively written about...
Then of course we have marine species, also with a 39% average decline since 1970. "The largest reductions can be seen in the tropics and the Southern Ocean – species in decline include marine turtles, many sharks, and large migratory seabirds like the wandering albatross." There was some stability after the mid-1980s, but this has ended and we're now seeing another period of steep decline.
Overall, across all 3 categories of species, the two main causes of this tragedy are exploitation by humans and habitat degradation/change/destruction: