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WWF: Decline in Species

Photo credit: CNN. In photo: an animal being cared for after a state of emergency was declared in Canberra, Australia’s capital city, earlier this year (February 2020). During this time, the capital is on high alert as fires encompass 8% of the total landmass of the entire region.

In an article published by the World Wildlife Fund, it indicated that there is an average decline of 68% in species population sizes since 1970. Declines in monitored populations of mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, and amphibians present a dire warning for the health of people and the planet. Globally, monitored population sizes of mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, and amphibians have declined an average of 68% between 1970 and 2016, according to World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Living Planet Report 2020.

Populations in Latin America and the Caribbean have fared worst, with an average decline of 94%. Global freshwater species have also been disproportionally impacted, declining 84% on average. As an important indicator of planetary health, these drastic species population trends signal a fundamentally broken relationship between humans and the natural world, the consequences of which—as demonstrated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic—can be catastrophic.

“This report reminds us that we destroy the planet at our peril—because it is our home. As humanity’s footprint expands into once-wild places, we’re devastating species populations. But we’re also exacerbating climate change and increasing the risk of zoonotic diseases like COVID-19. We cannot shield humanity from the impacts of environmental destruction. It’s time to restore our broken relationship with nature for the benefit of species and people alike,” says WWF-US President and CEO Carter Roberts. Read more: 68% Average Decline in Species Population Sizes Since 1970, Says New WWF Report, an article by the World Wildlife Fund.

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