Nature pushed to the brink by runaway consumption: WWF


"This report sounds a warning shot across our bow", said Carter Roberts, president, and CEO of WWF-US.

The data, gathered from peer-reviewed studies, covers more than 16,700 populations belonging to 4,000 species around the world.

He added that Pakistan is no different; we are losing our unique habitats and our wildlife at an alarming rate.

From hedgehogs and puffins to elephants, rhinos and polar bears, wildlife is in decline, due to the loss of habitats, poaching, pollution of land and seas and rising global temperatures, the Living Planet report warns.

The benefits provided by wildlife and nature are not just things that are "nice to have", the report's authors stress. "That is the scale of what we have done." said Mike Barrett, science and conservation director at WWF.

India has one of the lowest ecological footprints among countries at less than 1.75 global hectares per person, but fared the worst in soil biodiversity which was mapped for the first time to locate threat areas. "The decline of species and damage to the natural systems we all depend on will ultimately have negative impacts on our health, societies and economies".

More broadly, WWF is asking for the European Union to mainstream climate and biodiversity protection into key economic sectors, including policies related to agriculture, infrastructure development, and climate and energy.

In this period "20 per cent of the Amazon" and "between 30 and 50 per cent of the mangroves" have decreased, while in the last 30 years, the Earth "has lost approximately half of its corals in shallow waters", and pollinators such as bees are "under increasing threat".

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The species monitored were vertebrate species, or animals with a backbone, with database containing information on over 22,000 populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians.

The WWF calls for "a new global deal for nature and people" similar to the 2015 Paris agreement to tackle climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Perhaps the scariest statistic: humans have wiped out about 60 per cent of the planet's animal life since 1970. "Wildlife around the world continue to dwindle".

In the words of Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International, "Today, we still have a choice".

This year's report cited population increases of pandas, dolphins, and gorillas as positive signs of environmental work in action, and credited legal frameworks like the US Endangered Species Act with helping listed species avoid extinction.

More generally, the marginal capacity of Earth's ecosystems to renew themselves has been far outstripped by humanity's ecological footprint, which has almost tripled in 50 years. The report added that now only a quarter of land on this planet has not been severely impacted or damaged by human activity, but is projected to decline to just one tenth of the land by 2050, due to pollution, disease, and climate change, among other factors. The report presents a sobering picture of the impact of human activity on the world's wildlife, forests, oceans, rivers and climate, underlining the rapidly closing window for action and the urgent need for the global community to collectively rethink and redefine how we value, protect and restore nature.

"When you lose biodiversity and world becomes biologically and aesthetically a poorer place", Keith Somerville, a professor in human-wildlife conflict at Kent University, told NBC News.