World Has Lost More Than Half of Wildlife in 40 Years

Can you imagine the conspiracy theories that certain usual suspects would be broadcasting far and wide if the human population was halved in just 40 years? So why isn’t there more outcry over that happening to the Earth’s wildlife population? From BBC News:

The global loss of species is even worse than previously thought, the London Zoological Society (ZSL) says in its new Living Planet Index.

The report suggests populations have halved in 40 years, as new methodology gives more alarming results than in a report two years ago.

The report says populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish have declined by an average of 52%.

Populations of freshwater species have suffered an even worse fall of 76%.

Severe impact
Compiling a global average of species decline involves tricky statistics, often comparing disparate data sets – and some critics say the exercise is not statistically valid.

The team at the zoological society say they’ve improved their methodology since their last report two years ago – but the results are even more alarming.

Then they estimated that wildlife was down “only” around 30%. Whatever the numbers, it seems clear that wildlife is continuing to be driven out by human activity.

The society’s report, in conjunction with the pressure group WWF, says humans are cutting down trees more quickly than they can re-grow, harvesting more fish than the oceans can re-stock, pumping water from rivers and aquifers faster than rainfall can replenish them, and emitting more carbon than oceans and forests can absorb.

It catalogues areas of severe impact – in Ghana, the lion population in one reserve is down 90% in 40 years.

In West Africa, forest felling has restricted forest elephants to 6-7% of their historic range.

Globally, habitat loss and hunting have reduced tigers from 100,000 a century ago to just 3,000…

[continues at BBC News]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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4 Comments on "World Has Lost More Than Half of Wildlife in 40 Years"

  1. gustave courbet | Sep 30, 2014 at 9:57 am |

    Obnoxious headers about ‘conspiracy theories’ aside, the reason that the anthropocene mass extinction isn’t discussed widely is because it is terrifying, and ameliorating the situation would require a sea-change in our global economic processes. Even if our global society had switched to ‘green energy’ decades ago to mitigate anthropogenic climate change, we’d still be clear-cutting rain forests, dredging wetlands, and paving prairies. A reconciliation of human avarice with our finite world is what is required and, lets face it- there’s little money in curbing greed.

  2. BuzzCoastin | Sep 30, 2014 at 4:25 pm |

    considering that 99% of every living species
    is now extinct
    and that there is evidence that the mass extinction process
    is a regular occurence in Nature
    wee should not be surprised nor unaware of this

    a Neanderthal told me this

  3. Woobniggurath | Sep 30, 2014 at 11:54 pm |

    This is the only news story which actually counts.

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