Global wildlife populations have plummeted more than two-thirds in less than 50 years due to rampant over-consumption, the Living Planet Index reported on Thursday.
The Living Planet Index, which tracks more than 4,000 species of vertebrates, warned that increasing deforestation and agricultural expansion were the key drivers behind a 68 percent average decline in populations between 1970 and 2016.
And it emphasised the urgency to save nature in order to save ourselves.
Human activity has severely degraded three quarters of all land and 40 percent of Earth’s oceans, and our quickening destruction of nature is likely to have untold consequences on our health and livelihoods, the report warned.
It warned that continued natural habitat loss increased the risk of future pandemics as humans expand their presence into ever closer contact with wild animals.
2020’s Living Planet Report, a collaboration between WWF International and the Zoological Society of London, is the 13th edition of the biennial publication tracking wildlife populations around the world.
WWF International director general Marco Lambertini told AFP of the staggering loss of Earth’s biodiversity since 1970.
“It’s an accelerating decrease that we’ve been monitoring for 30 years and it continues to go in the wrong direction,” he said.
“In 2016 we documented a 60 percent decline, now we have a 70 percent decline.
“All this is in a blink of an eye compared to the millions of years that many species have been living on the planet,” Lambertini added.