A handful of mangrove fruits for a state-sponsored reforestation and biodiversity conservation project in Egypt A handful of mangrove fruits for a state-sponsored reforestation and biodiversity conservation project in Egypt 

WWF report shows massive decrease in wildlife populations

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) reports a devastating 69% decrease in wildlife populations over the past fifty years in its latest "Living Planet Report 2022."

By Thaddeus Jones

WWF's "Living Planet Report 2022" has revealed an alarming 69% decrease in wildlife populations around the globe since 1970. The rapid drop in populations and diversity highlighted in the World Wildlife Fund dossier puts the spotlight on the precarious state of nature and the potential complexity of crises that humanity will face.

Urgent action needed

WWF has urged governments, businesses and the public to take immediate and effective actions to reverse the destruction of biodiversity and the catastrophic effects that can result.

Citing the data feature in their report, the WWF report summary shows that tropical regions have seen wildlife populations fall precipitously with freshwater species populations going down by 83%. Overall mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish together have experienced a 69% drop on average over the past half-century.

Analyzing its largest set of data yet, the report looks at data regarding 32,000 populations of 5,230 species calculated into its "Living Planet Index (LPI)" with research prepared by the Zoological Society of London. The data show that in tropical regions where vertebrate wildlife populations have been monitored, numbers have plummeted at a rapid rate in recent decades, which is particularly worrying since they represent some of the most biodiverse regions of the world. Monitored wildlife populations in Latin America and the Caribbean region have dropped a shocking 94% on average.

Double emergencies

Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International, has warned that, “We face the double emergencies of human-induced climate change and biodiversity loss, threatening the well-being of current and future generations. WWF is extremely worried by this new data showing a devastating fall in wildlife populations, in particular in tropical regions that are home to some of the most biodiverse landscapes in the world.” 

Founded in 1961, WWF works to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.

World leaders are due to meet at the 15th Conference of Parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) in December. Hopes are that common efforts will be undertaken to change the current trends that are putting people at great risk due to the delicate balance and biodiversity needed to maintain life on the planet. 

Pope Francis' encyclical letter Laudato si' on care for our common home dedicates an entire section to the critical importance of biodiversity and what is at stake if we do not work together to ensure its survival, which is also about humanity's own survival.

“Because all creatures are connected, each must be cherished with love and respect, for all of us as living creatures are dependent on one another.”

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13 October 2022, 15:39