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Living Planet Index: Two-Thirds of Wildlife Could Be Gone by 2020

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By    |   Thursday, 27 Oct 2016 06:21 PM

The World Wildlife Federation and the Zoological Society of London’s Living Planet Index has issued a warning that up to two-thirds of the world’s vertebrate animal population could be wiped out by the year 2020.

The comprehensive analysis measures the population of about 64,000 species of animals in a similar way to a stock market.

"The richness and diversity of life on Earth is fundamental to the complex life systems that underpin it," WWF Director General Marco Lambertini said, The Guardian reported."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."

Scientists have proposed the decline in wildlife along with climate change signal a new era of Earth’s geological history known as Anthropocene, which will be a time when humans dominate the planet. Only 15 percent of Earth’s land area is now protected for nature, with the rest impacted by human development to some degree.

Recent research reported by The Guardian showed more than 300 mammal species are being eaten into extinction. Pollution of oceans and land by long-lived industrial chemicals also is a problem for some species. Animal populations are down 81 percent in rivers and lakes since 1970, as well.

Not all scientists think the Index is accurate, and some populations like tigers and giant pandas have begun to recover. Emphasis on sustainable farming, logging and other industries may help to prevent extinction of animal and plant species and preserve fragile ecosystems much longer than expected. But reversing the 2 percent average decline each year, as reported by The Huffington Post, will take policy changes and intentional efforts.

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The World Wildlife Federation and the Zoological Society of London's Living Planet Index has issued a warning that up to two-thirds of the world's vertebrate animal population could be wiped out by the year 2020.
living, planet, index, wildlife
282
2016-21-27
Thursday, 27 Oct 2016 06:21 PM
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