Tuesday, September 30, 2014

World Wildlife Fund says humans responsible for 52 percent decline in wildlife populations

Humans are responsible for a 52 percent decline in wildlife populations from 1970 to 2010, says a report by the World Wildlife Fund. "The conservation group's Living Planet Report, published every two years, said humankind's demands were now 50 percent more than nature can bear, with trees being felled, groundwater pumped and carbon dioxide emitted faster than Earth can recover," John Heilprin reports for The Associated Press. Hunting, fishing "and continued losses and deterioration of natural habitats are identified as the chief threats to wildlife populations around the world."

The report from two years ago said the decline was 28 percent from 1970 to 2008, Heilprin writes. The drastic difference in the current report is because previous reports relied more heavily on information from North America and Europe, while the current report includes Latin America, where many of the new losses were found to have occurred.

The current study "analyzed data from about 10,000 populations of 3,038 vertebrate species from a database maintained by the Zoological Society of London," Hielprin writes. "The worst decline was among populations of freshwater species, which fell by 76 percent over the four decades to 2010, while marine and terrestrial numbers both fell by 39 percent." (Read more)

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