The world’s wild animal population has fallen by 69% since 1970 – WWF Report

  • Reduction caused by climate change, habitat loss and pollution
  • Nature was, and still is, in tatters – Director of WWF-UK
  • Rich countries will be asked for support at the Montreal summit

LONDON (Reuters) – The world’s wild animal population has fallen by more than two-thirds since 1970 with deforestation and ocean pollution, according to an assessment published Thursday.

This “serious decline…tells us that nature is disintegrating and the natural world is emptied out,” said Andrew Terry, director of conservation and policy at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report, which used 2018 data from ZSL on the state of 32,000 wildlife populations spanning more than 5,000 species, found that population size has fallen by 69% on average. Deforestation, human exploitation, pollution, and climate change were some of the biggest drivers of the loss.

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Wild animal populations in Latin America and the Caribbean have been particularly affected, seeing a 94% decline in just five decades. The report said one group of pink river dolphins in the Brazilian Amazon declined by 65% ​​between 1994 and 2016.

Its results were broadly similar to those found in the WWF’s latest assessment in 2020, Terry said, with wildlife populations continuing to decline at an average rate of 2.5% annually.

“Nature has been in tatters and is still in tatters,” said Mark Wright, director of science at the UK’s WWF. “The war surely loses.”

Urgently need support

However, the report provided some rays of hope. While the eastern lowland gorilla population in Kahuzi-Bija National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo decreased by 80% between 1994 and 2019 due to bushmeat hunting, the number of mountain gorillas near Virunga National Park increased from about 400 individuals in 2010 to more than 600. An individual. 2018.

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However, widespread declines have prompted desperate pleas for increased support for nature.

In December, delegates from around the world will gather in Montreal to devise a new global strategy to protect the world’s flora and fauna.

One of the biggest questions is likely to be increasing funding for global conservation efforts.

“We are calling on rich countries to provide financial support for us to protect our nature,” said Alice Ruhuisa, WWF’s regional director for Africa.

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(Gloria Dickey reports in London). Editing by Bernadette Bohm

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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