Two-Thirds of wild animals could be dead by 2020 - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Two-Thirds of wild animals could be dead by 2020

Source: Safari Partners Source: Safari Partners

A grim new report estimates that two-thirds of the earth’s wildlife will be wiped out within the next few years. Researchers at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the  Zoological Society of London developed the Living Planet Index, which concluded that nearly 60% of the animal population dramatically dropped since 1970 and this decline is expected to continue through at least 2020. 

In the study, over 14,000 different animal populations of nearly 4,000 species were measured from several different countries.  This includes birds, mammals, fish and reptiles.

The freshwater animals decreased by 81% and marine population decreased by 36% in just a 40 year period.  There was also a 38% decrease for land-roaming animals. The researchers attribute the animal population decrease to human activity, which will likely continue due to the demand for resources. The biggest threat to animals was the loss of land and habitat for deforestation followed by unsustainable hunting.

The report states that in 2012,  “equivalent of 1.6 earths was needed to provide the natural resources and services humanity consumed in that year.”  According to the Living Planet Report, some of the countries with the largest ecological footprint of consumption are the United States, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Russia and China.

However, this doesn’t have to be the absolute end for a large portion of our animal population. The researchers stress that animal habitats can still be maintained and restored over the next few years. They also emphasize that many countries are already taking the necessary steps to protect the environment.

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