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Mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish have seen a devastating nearly 70% drop in population since 1970.

Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) Democratic Republic of the Congo

Devasting news from the WWF Living Planet Report 2022

Populations of vertebrates (mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish) have seen a devastating 69% drop on average since 1970, according to World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Living Planet Report 2022. Populations in Latin America and the Caribbean have fared worst, with an average decline of 94%. Global freshwater species have been hit especially hard, declining 83% on average.

Policymakers are the key

The report identifies several key drivers of biodiversity decline including habitat loss, species overexploitation, invasive species, pollution, climate change and diseases. It calls on policymakers to transform economies so that natural resources are properly valued.

Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF-US, said:

“The world is waking up to the fact that our future depends on reversing the loss of nature just as much as it depends on addressing climate change. And you can’t solve one without solving the other. Everyone has a role to play in reversing these trends, from individuals to companies to governments.”

The 15th Conference of Parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity

World leaders will meet at the 15th Conference of Parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) in December for a once-in-a-decade opportunity to course-correct for the sake of people and the planet. The US government can help ensure that COP15 and the emerging 2030 Global Biodiversity Framework are successful through its diplomatic engagement and by bringing new resources to the table to help developing countries protect their biodiversity.

“In the US, Congress should finalize this year’s funding bills with significant increases for global conservation programs. Doing so would empower the federal government to drive greater progress in conserving and restoring nature, and send a signal to other countries that it expects other actors to do the same.”

The Living Planet Index

The Living Planet Index, provided by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), is an early warning indicator of the health of nature. This year’s edition analyzes almost 32,000 species populations with more than 838 new species and just over 11,000 new populations added since the 2020 edition. It provides a comprehensive measure of how wildlife is responding to environmental pressures driven by biodiversity loss and climate change, while also allowing us to better understand the impact of people on biodiversity.

Some of the species captured in the Living Planet Index include the Amazon pink river dolphin, which saw populations plummet by 65% between 1994 and 2016 in the Mamirauá Sustainable Development Reserve in the Brazilian state of Amazonas; the eastern lowland gorilla, whose numbers saw an estimated 80% decline in DRC’s Kahuzi-Biega National Park between 1994 and 2019; and South and Western Australian sea lion pups, which plunged by two-thirds between 1977 and 2019.

Image Credits

In-Article Image Credits

Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) Democratic Republic of the Congo via World Wildlife Fund by Paul Robinson with usage type - Commercial license. Only for authorized use in the context of positively promoting WWF.

Featured Image Credit

Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) Democratic Republic of the Congo via World Wildlife Fund by Paul Robinson with usage type - Commercial license. Only for authorized use in the context of positively promoting WWF.

 

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