|A WORLD TO WIN|
A PLANET TO SAVE
The world faces the first mass extinction of animal life since the dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago, according to the most comprehensive survey of wildlife ever carried out. By 2020, the populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and other vertebrate species are on course to have fallen by more than two-thirds over a period of just 50 years, the Living Planet report found. The current rate of extinction is about 100 times faster than is considered normal – greater than during some of the previous five mass extinctions in the Earth’s history.
The Living Planet report, produced by conservation charity WWF and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), analysed data for 3,706 species in what was described as the most comprehensive study of the state of wildlife globally. They found that between 1970 and 2012, the average decline in population was 58 per cent. And at the current rate this figure will hit 67 per cent by 2020, the year by which the world has pledged to halt the loss of wildlife.
Dr Mike Barrett, director of science and policy at WWF-UK, said: “For the first time since the demise of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, we face a global mass extinction of wildlife. 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. Humanity’s misuse of natural resources is threatening habitats, pushing irreplaceable species to the brink and threatening the stability of our climate.” Dr Barrett stressed the situation was far from hopeless. “We know how to stop this. It requires governments, businesses and citizens to rethink how we produce, consume, measure success and value the natural environment.”