Conservation: Latest 'Living Planet' Report Reveals Some Worrying Figures

The latest 'Living Planet' report, published by WWF, has revealed some very worrying statistics. The most shocking, and the one that stood out to me more than any other, was that global vertebrate populations have declined by 58% since 1970. In other words, in just over 40 years, we have lost over half of all birds, mammals, fish, amphibians and reptiles. And by 2020, this figure is expected to have risen to around 67%.

The cover of the WWF Living Planet Report 2016

These statistics are calculated using WWFs LPI (Living Planet Index), which is a measure of biodiversity based on scientific data from 14,152 monitored populations of almost 4,000 vertebrate species. And this data showed the dramatic decline mentioned above.

This, of course, is very concerning. In fact, when I first came across these statistics, I was shocked at how these could possibly be true. So what is to blame for this decline in global wildlife?

The report names habitat loss and degradation, species overexploitation, pollution, invasive species and disease and climate change as the main causes of this drop in population levels. Notice how all of the above are partly or entirely caused by humans. It seems that, more than ever, we need to rapidly change our ways for the sake of our planet, its wildlife, and for ourselves.

I think WWF International Director General Marco Lambertini sums up the situation perfectly in the report:"The evidence has never been stronger and our understanding never been clearer. Not only are we able to track the exponential increase in human pressure and the consequent degradation of natural systems, but we also now better understand the interdependencies of Earth’s life support systems and their limits. Lose biodiversity and the natural world including the life support systems as we know them 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."

Here are some of the key statistics and facts from the report as a whole:

  • Global vertebrate populations have declined by 58% since 1970.
  • Freshwater vertebrate populations have suffered the most, declining by a massive 81%.
  • Habitat loss is by far the most common cause of decline.
  • Tropical forest loss has accelerated from around 15% (loss since 1700AD) to around 30% between 1950 and 2012.

If you want to read the report or report summary for yourself, the links are below:

It is clear to me through reading through even the summary of this report that us humans, as an international effort, need to be doing more to help safeguard our planet's wildlife and nature. We have transformed our planet from a forested, wild collection of land masses, almost void of intelligent life, to a connected, built-up and humanised network of countries which is frankly becoming more and more unfit for nature to thrive. This is why we need protected areas and large swathes of rainforest still standing. Nature needs a place where it isn't entirely impacted by human interference. But in the majority of the world, where humans are living alongside wildlife of all shapes and sizes, we need to learn to co-exist and protect the species that live alongside us, rather than accelerate them towards extinction.

I hope you have found this post interesting. This post has been shorter than usual and I encourage you to read the full report or the summary on the WWF website. Thank you for reading!


  1. This is really sad, and even worse for the most venomous snakes and dangerous animals.
    I must say you had done a tremendous job, great post


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