As if we needed further evidence that the human species is anything but a blight on this wonderful planet, a new report says the number of Earth’s wild animal will decrease two-thirds by 2020.
You read that right – 2020 – just four years away.
The Living Planet Report 2016 has been compiled by the WWF and the Zoological Society of London, and uses an index to measure the wellbeing of animal species and the success of our own conservation efforts.
The index is created from from monitoring 14,000 populations within 3,700 different vertebrate species, with analysis showing that animal populations fell by 58 per cent between 1970 and 2012 – and will plummet to a thoroughly depressing 67 per cent by 2020.
Of course, if you want to be selfish about it – which us humans have a first class degree in from the University of Being Utter Bastards – these findings have huge implications for our own existence.
“The richness and diversity of life on Earth is fundamental to the complex life systems that underpin it,” writes Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF, in the report. “Life supports life itself and we are part of the same equation. Lose biodiversity and the natural world and the life support systems, as we know them today, will collapse
“We depend on nature for the air we breathe, water we drink, the food and materials we use and the economy we rely on, and not least, for our health, inspiration and happiness.”
Global warming is obviously a major factor, along with farming, logging, and pollution which are destroying many species’ natural habitats and living conditions – not to mention poaching and us actually eating animals into extinction.
Species most affected include elephants, killer whales, vultures, and large numbers of amphibians. The resurgence of some species, such as the giant panda and tiger, suggest that swift action could reverse some of the damage – but its startling evidence that we could be entering the Anthropocene, a geological era dominated by humans (honestly, who wants that?).
So next time you can't be bothered to walk the extra three feet to the recycling bin and dispose of that beer can properly, think again. Knuckle down people and treat the world nicely, or we could feel Mother's Nature wrath in a big way.