Global wildlife populations have fallen by 60% since 1970 as humans overuse natural resources, drive climate change and pollute the planet, a report warns.
WWF has called for an ambitious “global deal” for nature and people, similar to the international Paris Agreement to tackle climate change, as the conservation charity’s new report spelled out the damage being done to the natural world.
Only a quarter of the world’s land area is free from the impacts of human activity and by 2050 that will have fallen to just a tenth, the Living Planet Report 2018 says.
The percentage of the world’s seabirds with plastic in their stomach is estimated to have increased from 5% in 1960 to 90% today, and the world has already lost around half its shallow water corals in just 30 years.
Overall, populations of more than 4,000 species of mammals, reptiles, birds, fish and amphibians have declined by an average of 60% between 1970 and 2014, the most recent year for which data is available.
Tropical areas have seen the worst declines, with an 89% fall in populations monitored in Latin America and the Caribbean since 1970.
Species which live in fresh water habitats, such as frogs and river fish, have seen global population falls of 83%, according to the living planet index by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) which tracks the abundance of wildlife.