A recent report conducted by the Zoological Society of London, or the ZSL said that animals have declined at a clip of over 50% on average in the last 40 years. This trend poses obvious threats as people continue to push animals out of their natural habitat, and less planning is executed around their future.
This compilation includes birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish, and the report uses information on 10,380 populations of 3,038 species. The “living planet index” shows researchers how we’re doing in terms of maintaining, and protecting various populations of animals around the world.
However, it actually gets worse. Although it may seem difficult to fathom, for freshwater creatures, a bad situation is actually steadily getting worse. Population declines of 76% over the last 40 years offers up a staggering realization.
The main culprits of these massive population cuts are hunting, fishing, and of course, damage to their habitat. Meaning, as humans close in – their homes disappear. But, like any issue this too is a socio-economic issue. Those countries that are considered “low income” saw a 58% decrease in animal populations, most likely attributed to the fact that there is the least amount of funding for preserving wildlife, but also out of greater necessity for growing populations to survive – for countries that rely heavily on hunting and gathering.
Comparatively, the wealthiest countries in the world saw an average of 10% increase in population. The most at risk animals include the marine turtle, and the forest elephants – which call their home Africa. Thanks to poaching, and having their habitats wiped out by human development – both could be extinct in this generation’s lifetime.
However, the report didn’t stop at animals. Overall, the report made a stark warning to people. We’re using more than the planet can actually give us. Cutting down forests and trees too quickly, overfishing, overhunting, and increasing our output of carbon dioxide, than the planet can take back.
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We aren’t just talking about animals, we’re talking about destroying the planet that we call home – and if we continue on the path that we’re on right now, according to this report – this is simply the beginning of a series of bad events.
The makers of the report referred to this as the perfect opportunity for a loud and clear wakeup call. But, the question remains, will anyone hear it?