Global Wildlife Population Drops by 69% Since 1970: WWF Report

This was stated in the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Living Planet Report 2022.

A decline of 69 percent has been reported in the wildlife population globally since 1970.

This was stated in the 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 percent. Global freshwater species have also been disproportionately impacted, declining 83 percent on average.

Among species, fresh water ones have seen the most decline in this period. The Asia-Pacific region that includes India has seen a 55 percent loss.

While the report finds the natural world near a tipping point, it also reiterates that immediate transformative action can slow and even reverse these devastating results.

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

As biodiversity loss and climate change share many of the same underlying causes, actions that transform food production and consumption, rapidly cut emissions, and invest in conservation can mitigate the twin crises.

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WWF India officials said at the launch that most of India’s river systems are not free flowing and hence their biodiversity has declined. In 2019, 205 species from India were in the ‘endangered’, 81 in the ‘critically endangered’ and 394 in ‘vulnerable’ category on the ‘red list’ of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), they added.

Globally, only 37 percent of the rivers longer than 1000 km remain free flowing over the entire length. When some fish species migrate along these swim-ways, the presence of dams and reservoirs pose a threat to their survival.

The report indicates that the main drivers of wildlife population decline are habitat degradation and loss, exploitation, the introduction of invasive species, pollution, climate change and disease.

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.

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