Published on Oct 25, 2014
Earth lost half its wildlife in the past four decades, according to the most comprehensive study of animal populations to date, a far larger decline than previously reported.
The new study was conducted by scientists at the wildlife group WWF, the Zoological Society of London and other organizations.
Based on an analysis of thousands of vertebrate species, it concludes that overall animal populations fell 52% between 1970 and 2010.
The decline was seen everywhere—in rivers, on land and in the seas—and is mainly the result of increased habitat destruction, commercial fishing and hunting, the report said.
Climate change also is believed to be a factor, though its consequences are harder to measure.
The fastest declines were seen in rivers and other freshwaters systems, where populations fell 76% since 1970.
By comparison, terrestrial and marine populations each fell 39%.
While biodiversity continues to…
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