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Two-thirds of wild animals may go extinct by 2020

According to recently released study, global wildlife populations have fallen by 58% since 1970 and if the trend continues then two-thirds of wild animals may go extinct by 2020

The study was published as The Living Planet assessment by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

What the study says?

  • It suggests that animals living in lakes, rivers and wetlands are suffering the biggest losses.
  • Human activity, including habitat loss, wildlife trade, pollution and climate change contributed to the decline in global wildlife populations.
  • It also concluded that vertebrate populations are declining by an average of 2% each year.

How the study was conducted?

  • The report in its analysis had looked at 3,700 different species of birds, mammals, fish, amphibians and reptiles, about 6% of total number of vertebrate species in the world.
  • It had also collected data from government statistics, peer-reviewed studies and surveys collated by conservation groups and NGOs.
  • They had included any species with population data going back to 1970, with two or more time points in the study.
  • Then using this data researchers had analysed how the population sizes had changed over time.
  • Some of this information was weighted to take into account the groups of animals that had a great deal of data or very little data.

Background

  • The Living Planet Report is published every two years. It aims to provide an assessment of the state of the world’s wildlife.
  • The last report was published in 2014. It had estimated that the world’s wildlife populations had halved over the last 40 years.

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