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World likely to lose 68 Percent of its Wildlife by 2020, 6th mass Extinction on cards: WWF

The report says that about 41 per cent mammals, 46 per cent reptiles, 57 per cent amphibians and 70 per cent freshwater fishes are "threatened with extinction" in India

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Representational image. Pixabay

New Delhi, October 27, 2016: The future of many living organisms is under question as the world may lose 68 percent of its wildlife by 2020 — a possible prelude for the sixth mass extinction, a major WWF report has said.

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Living Plant Report 2016, 58 percent of the global population of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles has already been lost between 1970 and 2012.

These patterns are directly attributed to human-induced climate change.

The report says that about 41 per cent mammals, 46 per cent reptiles, 57 per cent amphibians and 70 per cent freshwater fishes are “threatened with extinction” in India. Four of the 385 species of mammals are already extinct in India.

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Seven per cent of birds may also extinct in the world.

Globally between 1970 and 2012, 38 percent of the terrestrial population, 81 percent of fresh water population and 36 per cent of the marine population had declined.

“Habitat loss and degradation and over-exploitation of wildlife are the most common threats to the terrestrial population,” the report says.

As per the report, by 2000, 48.5 percent of the tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forest habitat had been converted for human use. This has led to a 41 percent overall decline in tropical forest species.

The report held food production to meet the complex demands of an expanding human population as the primary reason for the destruction of habitats and over-exploitation of wildlife.

The world’s population has grown from about 1.6 billion people in 1900 to today’s 7.3 billion.

“By 2012, the bio-capacity equivalent of 1.6 Earths was needed to provide the natural resources and services humanity consumed in that year,” the report said, pointing out how planetary boundaries were stretched due to human-produced alterations to the functioning of the Earth system.

WWF focused on nine such alterations including unsustainable fresh water use and ocean acidification. As per studies, by 2050 there will be more polythene in the ocean than fish.

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“This is not just about the wonderful species we all love. Biodiversity forms the foundation of healthy forests, rivers and oceans. Take away the species and these ecosystems will collapse along with the clean air, water, food and climate services that they provide us,” said Dr Marco Lambertini, International Director General, WWF.

The researchers are already calling this time as “Anthropocene” — an era during which the climate changes, oceans acidify and the entire community of flora and fauna disappears — during a single human lifetime.

All these changes may lead to the world’s sixth extinction, following the extinction of reptiles, mammals (twice) and dinosaurs (twice).

As per IUCN, the total threatened animal species has increased from 5,205 to 8,462 since 1996. India, Indonesia, Brazil and China are among the countries with the most threatened mammals and birds.

“Not only wild plants and animals are at risk, people are victims of the deteriorating nature. Patterns suggest that without action during the Anthropocene the earth will become much less hospitable to our modern globalised society,” the report says.

India ranks fifth in terms of bio-capacity — means an ecosystem capable of producing resources like food, fibre and absorbing carbon dioxide. However, large population size and growing wealth which may change the consumption pattern is a challenge.

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“Our consumption patterns are constantly shaping the future of our planet,” said Ravi Singh, CEO, WWF-India.

WWF, however, finds addressing the social inequality and environment degradation as best remedy.

“There is still considerable room for optimism. Fortunately, we are not starting from scratch. We must create a new economic system that enhances and supports the natural capital upon which it relies,” says WWF.

While the prediction of losing two-third of the global wildlife population is expected by 2020, the landmark Paris climate agreement (COP21) that would enter into force the same year, is seen as another sign of optimism. (IANS)

  • Antara

    Utterly tragic news!

  • Ruchika Kumari

    please save wildlife

  • Shivani Vohra

    Wildlife must be saved, as they maintain the ecosystem.

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Environmental and Animal Rights Groups Suing Trump Administration Over Changes to Endangered Species Act

They charge the administration with breaking the law by announcing changes to the implementation of the landmark act

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Endangered Species, Environmental, Animal
A monarch butterfly rests on a plant at Abbott's Mill Nature Center in Milford, Del. Seven environmental and animal protection groups teamed up to file the first lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's rollback of the Endangered Species Act. VOA

Seven environmental and animal rights groups are suing the Trump administration for its regulations that would make drastic changes to the implementation of the Endangered Species Act.

The environmental law group Earthjustice filed the joint suit Wednesday in San Francisco.

They charge the administration with breaking the law by announcing changes to the implementation of the landmark act without first analyzing the effects the changes would have.

“In the midst of an unprecedented extinction crisis, the Trump administration is eviscerating our most effective wildlife protection law,” the National Resources Defense Council said. “These regulatory changes will place vulnerable species in immediate danger – all to line the pockets of industry. We are counting on the courts to step in before it is too late.”

Endangered Species, Environmental, Animal
Seven environmental and animal rights groups are suing the Trump administration for its regulations that would make drastic changes to the implementation. Pixabay

An Interior Department spokesman responded by saying “We will see them in court and we will be steadfast in our implementation of this important act with the unchanging goal of conserving and recovering species.”

Attorneys general from two states — California and Massachusetts — also say they will sue.

Environmentalists credit the 1973 Endangered Species Act with saving numerous animals, plants and other species from extinction.

About 1,600 species are currently protected by the act and the administration says streamlining regulations is the best way to ensure they will stay protected.

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“The revisions finalized with this rule-making fit squarely within the president’s mandate of easing the regulatory burden on the American public without sacrificing our species’ protection and recovery goals,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said last week.

The finalized changes include requiring consideration of economic cost when deciding whether to save a species from extinction. The law currently says the cost to logging or oil interests will have no bearing on whether an animal or other species deserves protection.

The revised regulations would also end blanket protection for a species listed as threatened, a designation that is one step away from declaring it endangered, and reduce some wildlife habitat.

Conservation and wildlife groups call the changes U.S. President Donald Trump’s gift to logging, ranching, and oil industries, saying they take a bulldozer through protections for America’s most vulnerable wildlife.

Endangered Species, Environmental, Animal
The environmental law group Earthjustice filed the joint suit Wednesday in San Francisco. Pixabay

A number of congressional Democrats have also denounced the changes, including New York Senator Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi,

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Republican President Richard Nixon signed the act into law in 1973 as part of the response to the new environmental awareness sweeping the country in the early 1970s, which included Earth Day and the Clear Water and Air acts. (VOA)