Friday, 28 October 2016

About 60 percent of global wildlife species wiped out

The number of African elephants, slaughtered mainly for their tusks, has dropped more than a quarter since 2006 [EPA]
60 percent of the world's fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles have been wiped out over the past four decades, largely because of human activity, researchers say.

The Living Planet Report 2016, released on Thursday, blamed deforestation, pollution, overfishing, and the illegal wildlife trade for "pushing species populations to the edge".

According to the report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), in a collaboration with other international environmental advocacy groups, the five main drivers of wildlife decline are habitat loss, overconsumption, pollution, invasive species and disease.

"For the first time since the demise of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, we face a global mass extinction of wildlife," said Mike Barrett, director of science and policy at WWF's UK branch.

"We ignore the decline of other species at our peril - for they are the barometer that reveals our impact on the world that sustains us."

The findings are based on long-term monitoring of some 3,700 vertebrate species spread across more than 14,000 distinct populations.

Victims include gorillas and orangutans, rhinos and elephants, tigers and snow leopards, but also faceless species such as corals - a crucial cornerstone not only of marine life but also coastal human communities.

Factory fishing has emptied the seas of 40 percent of sea life, and nine out of 10 fisheries in the world are either overfished or full-fished today.

Source: Aje