Durban – The Earth’s ecosystem is likely to deteriorate further, after a World Wildlife Federation [WWF] report detailed how global animal populations have decreased by 69% between 1970 and 2018.
The Living Planet report 2022 was authored by 89 experts from around the world and details how animal civilization has declined or become extinct in the face of climate change and upscaled land use.
One of the core functions of the report is to track trends in the abundance of mammals, fish, reptiles, birds and amphibians around the globe.
From land, air, fresh water and the ocean, the various animal species that inhabit these ecosystems have all been severely impacted by the actions of mankind in some way.
This is compounded by climate change which has resulted in a rise in water temperatures among other things The report underlines the meed for solutions to the multi-dimensional challenges vexing our wild world to be implemented urgently.
The report said the world was failing to reach the target set in Paris, 2015, which was to reduce global temperatures by 1.5-2 degrees Celsius.
“The 2022 global Living Planet Index shows an average 69% decrease in monitored wildlife populations between 1970 and 2018. Latin America shows the greatest regional decline in average population abundance (94%),” the report said.
“While industrialised countries are responsible for most environmental degradation, it is poor countries and poor people who are the most vulnerable.
“Unless we conserve and restore biodiversity, and limit human-induced climate change, almost none of the SDGs can be achieved – in particular food and water security, good health for everyone, poverty alleviation, and a more equitable world,” the report stated.
The WWF report said that global warming was causing our ecosystem to enter into a state in defence of the current situation, in time warming itself further, a process called ‘positive climate feedback’.
“Increases in wildfires, trees dying due to drought and insect outbreaks, peatlands drying and tundra permafrost thawing, all release more CO₂ as dead plant material decomposes or is burned.
“This is starting to transform systems that have historically been solid carbon sinks into new carbon sources,” read the report.
South African authorities and the animal community at large have been doing their bit to restore animal populations around the globe.
Earlier this year, the department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries confirmed that they were in talks with India over leopard re-population on the sub-continent.
The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) staff travelled to India to deliver eight wild cheetahs as part of their reintroduction, following their extinction in 1952.