Global alarm sounded over dramatic decline in bird, fish, mammal populations
Human activity is wiping out close to one per cent of every other species on Earth every year, a global environmental report said Friday.
The Living Planet Index, compiled by the World Wildlife Fund, the Zoological Society of London and the Global Footprint Network, said the population of birds, fish, mammals, reptiles and amphibians has dropped by almost a third in the last 35 years.
"You'd have to go back to the extinction of the dinosaurs to see a decline as rapid as this," said Jonathan Loh, editor of the report.
The main reasons for species extinction are pollution, farming and urban expansion, overfishing and hunting, the report said.
Between 1960 and 2000, the world's population doubled, said Ben Collen, one of the authors of the report.
Decline 'caused by humans'
"Yet during the same period, animal populations have declined by 30 per cent on average. It's beyond doubt that this decline has been caused by humans," he said.
The report tracks birds, fish, mammals, reptiles and amphibians around the world. Marine bird species alone have fallen by 30 per cent between 1995 and 2005, it said.
As well, between 1970 and 2005, land-based species fell by 25 per cent, marine by 28 per cent and freshwater by 29 per cent.
"Biodiversity underpins the health of the planet and has a direct impact on all our lives, so it is alarming that despite an increased awareness of environmental issues we continue to see a downtrend trend," said WWF campaign head Colin Butfield.
The report comes in the lead up to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Bonn next week.
More than 5,000 delegates will gather from May 19-30 to "discuss the protection and the preservation of species and habitats, a sustainable use of biological diversity as well as a fair distribution of access and exploitation," the conference website says.