According to a report called Living Planet report the number of wild animals living on Earth is set to fall by two-thirds by 2020. Just 3 years away. Based on 1970 population levels.
This new report, called the Living Planet Index, was prepared by the World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London.
The Living Planet Report is published every two years and aims to provide an assessment of the state of the world’s wildlife.
Between 1970 and 2012, there has already been a 58% overall decline in the numbers of fish, mammals, birds and reptiles worldwide. Largely as a result of human activities, from poaching to habitat loss and pollution.
That means wildlife across the globe is vanishing at a rate of 2% a year.
The team then extrapolated those trends forward to 2020. They based their analysis on data collected in the field on more than 14,000 populations of vertebrates, from 3,700 different species. The data came from many sources, from all around the world. Peer-reviewed studies, government statistics and surveys collated by conservation groups and NGOs.
If the trends do not reverse, the populations are set to reach a 67 percent drop by 2020.
The researchers concluded that lakes and rivers saw the steepest declines in resident animals. Groups that have fared particularly badly include marine mammals, fish, and some birds (especially vultures).
However, some species are starting to recover, suggesting swift action could tackle the crisis. Tiger numbers are thought to be increasing and the giant panda has recently been removed from the list of endangered species.
In a foreword to the study, the Stockholm Resilience Center’s Professor Johan Rockström wrote: “We are no longer a small world on a big planet. We are now a big world on a small planet, where we have reached a saturation point.”