Global wildlife populations have plunged 69% since 1970, according to a WWF report

The world's wildlife populations have declined by more than two-thirds since 1970 as forests have been cleared and oceans polluted, according to an assessment released on Thursday.

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This “serious decline…tells us that nature is crumbling and the natural world is disappearing,” Terry said, director of conservation and policy at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report, which used 2018 ZSL data on the state of 32,000 wildlife populations covering more than 5,000 species, observed an average decrease in population size of 69%. Deforestation, human exploitation, pollution, and climate change were the main contributors to this loss.

Wildlife populations in Latin America and the Caribbean were especially hard hit, recording a 94% decline in just five decades. According to the report, the pink dolphin population in the Brazilian Amazon declined by 65 percent between 1994 and 2016.

‘Nature was desperate and still is,’ said Mark Wright, Scientific Director of the WWF-UK. “The war is lost for good.”

Desperate need for support

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However, there were some glimmers of hope in the report. While the lowland gorilla population in the eastern Kahuzi-Biega National Park of the Democratic Republic of the Congo fell by 80% between 1994 and 2019 because of bush meat hunting, the population of mountain gorillas near Virunga National Park has increased from about 400 in 2010 to over 600 in 2018.

However, widespread declines have raised desperate calls for increased support for nature.

In December, delegates from around the world will come together in Montreal to develop a new global strategy to protect the world’s plants and animals.

Probably one of the biggest requests will be increased funding for global conservation efforts.

“We call upon rich countries to support us financially to protect our nature,” said Alice Ruhweza, WWF Regional Director for Africa. “

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