14 | OCT | 2019
Latin America's vertebrate population fell 89% since 1970
The loss of species was mainly caused by the degradation of their natural habitats, wildlife over-exploitation, and other human activities - Photo: Liu Dawei/Xinhua

Latin America's vertebrate population fell 89% since 1970

13/03/2019
20:16
Sebastián Pérez Sánchez
Mexico City
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According to WWF's 2018 Living Planet Report, wildlife populations have dropped 60% globally

Latin America’s vertebrate animal population dropped 89% between 1970 and 2014, according to the WWF’s 2018 Living Planet Report (LPR).

The report revealed an annual 4.8% drop in wildlife populations, covering fish, birds, amphibians, and reptiles from central Mexico to the Patagonia, an area that encompasses three of the most biodiverse countries worldwide: Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil.

The loss of species was mainly caused by the degradation of their natural habitats, wildlife over-exploitation, and other human activities.

The global landscape is far from encouraging. According to the LPR, wildlife populations have dropped 60% globally in just over 40 years.

Data on losses of habitats, extinction risks of animal species, and the integrity of ecosystems was also made available by the WWF.

The report shows a 22% reduction in habitats capable of attracting mammals and the Caribbean was the area most affected. Furthermore, ecosystem integrity dropped 3% at the global scale.

The report shows that this environmental crisis is mainly due to our current economic system, which operates under the premise that natural resources are infinite. For example, agriculture was found to be the main cause of deforestation, resulting in the destruction of habitats for thousands of animals.

Greenhouse gas emissions have also shown an alarming increase. Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere reached a record high of 410 parts per million during the month of April last year.

Furthermore, our animal consumption has reached unsustainable levels. While in 1950 the whole of humanity consumed 28 million tons of fish, in 2014, said number rose to 112 million. In Mexico, 83% of fisheries are either working at maximum capacity or over-exploiting fish populations.

“We are the first generation that has a clear picture of the value of nature and the grave situation we are facing. We may also be the last generation that can do something about it. We all have a role to play in reversing the loss of nature – but time is running out. Between now and 2020 we have a unique opportunity to influence the shape of global agreements and targets on biodiversity, climate and sustainable development – for a positive future for nature and people,” the WWF report states.

For the full LPR report, click here
 

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