The world wildlife count has been threatened for years by a single species: humans. From habitat loss and wildlife trade to pollution and climate change - all these factors are attributed to the growing population of people across the globe. As a result, the world is hurtling towards a mass extinction of species, with animals living in lakes, rivers, and wetlands reportedly the ones who have seen the most decline.
Earth Close To A New Epoch Due To Mass Extinction Of Species
The assessment came from the combined effort of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the World Wildlife Fund. Experts say that if the decline isn't halted, the global animal population could fall more than two-thirds by 2020. But what's really alarming is the rate that these numbers are plummeting.
The study reported that from 1970 to the latest analysis in 2014, the average decline of animal population was 58 percent. That amount of wildlife loss in just a period of over 40 years is 100 times faster compare to other mass extinction of species that occurred in Earth's history. In fact, geologists are now close to declaring a new epoch called Anthropocene, an age where human activity is to blame for the change in climate and environment, the Independent reported.
Battle For Wildlife Loss Isn't Lost Yet, Experts Say
Certain animals have been highlighted by researchers as these particular species have been among those that took the brunt of the damage, the BBC reported. African elephants, for instance, are continuously bleeding numbers due to poaching activities that took 415,000 of the majestic beast down to 111,000 in just a decade. Shark population is plummeting because of overfishing; the maned wolf and giant anteater are losing their grasslands in Brazil as it's being converted to soy fields and cattle pastures, and chemical pollution is endangering marine life from orcas to polar bears.
Experts, however, are saying that all is not lost and these are just declines and not an outright mass extinction of species yet. "We know how to stop this. It requires governments, businesses, and citizens to rethink how we produce, consume, measure success and value the natural environment," said Dr. Mike Barrett, director of science and policy at WWF-UK. "We ignore the decline of other species at our peril - for they are the barometer that reveals our impact on the world that sustains us," added Barrett.