We're wiping out life on Earth, WWF warns

We're wiping out life on Earth, WWF warns

We're wiping out life on Earth, WWF warns

From 1970 to 2014, 60 per cent of all animals with a backbone - fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals - were wiped out by human activity, according to WWF's "Living Planet" report, based on an ongoing survey of more than 4,000 species spread over 16,700 populations scattered across the globe.

Current rates of species extinction are now up to 1,000 times higher than before human involvement in animal ecosystems became a factor.

"We need a new global deal for nature", said WWF International director general Marco Lambertini, noting two key ingredients in the 195-nation Paris climate treaty. "It's not even a blink of an eye compared to the history of life on Earth". "We're still taking nature for granted, and it has to stop".

"We are the first generation to know we are destroying our planet and the last that can do anything about it", said Tanya Steele, the chief executive of the WWF.

"Unlike population declines, extinctions are irreversible".

The report outlines the various ways in which human activities have led to losses in animal populations.

Species highlighted include African elephants, which declined in number in Tanzania by 60% in just five years between 2009 and 2014, mainly due to ivory poaching.

More than 100,000 Bornean orangutans are estimated to have been lost between 1999 and 2015, largely due to the loss of their forest home for timber and palm oil plantations as well as illegal hunting.

And the number of polar bears is expected to decline by 30% by 2050 as global warming causes Arctic ice to melt, making their habitats increasingly precarious.

Their latest global report claims wildlife is dying out faster than ever and says nature needs worldwide "life support". "The collapse of global wildlife populations is a warning sign that nature is dying".

Life on earth is being wiped out by humans living beyond the planet's means according to a new report from conservation organisation WWF.

"From the decline of orangutans due to deforestation for palm oil to the ruinous impact of climate change on Arctic habitats to plastic pollution destroying marine wildlife, we can not continue with business as usual", he added.

The WWF, which has produced its "Living Planet" report every second year for the past 20 years, has called for an ambitious "global deal" for nature and people, similar to the worldwide Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.

"If we want a world with orang-utans and puffins, clean air and enough food for everyone, we need urgent action from our leaders and a new global deal for nature and people that kick starts a global programme of recovery".

It also encouraged a deal to be struck at the 75th United Nations General Assembly in 2020.

"If we didn't make those efforts, the situation would have been much worse", Mr Lambertini said.

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