WWF Living Planet Report
WWF has released its Living Planet Report, which found that wildlife populations have fallen by 69% in the past 50 years.
The report is compiled every two years. It is designed to illustrate how the natural world is changing so that governments, businesses and conservation groups can take stock.
Wide range of animals surveyed
The report looks at how wildlife populations have changed over time. Over 5,000 species from all over the world are tracked, including birds, fish, mammals and insects.
As expected, the fluctuating populations of species varies across the world. South America and the Caribbean are the most affected areas. In these locations average wildlife populations have declined by 94% over 50 years. Central Asia and Europe have seen the smallest drop with an 18% decline.
Human activity main issue
WWF has declared that the changes in population are caused by human activity. One of the biggest threats is deforestation to make way for farming.
The IUCN works in parallel to the WWF and looks at how easy or hard it is to make a difference to each species population size. It has so far found that several animals’ numbers could be increased.
Not all bad
The Living Planet Report is not all negative. Within the report there are also success stories in so much as some animal populations have increased due to efforts to protect them. For example, in India tiger numbers have reportedly doubled in the last decade, and we have seen animals reintroduced to areas where they had become extinct, such as wild beavers in the UK.