Earth’s Wildlife Populations Have Dropped By 60 Percent Since 1970

Humans have played a major role in stark declines in wildlife populations around the planet over the past 4½ decades, according to a chilling report published by the World Wildlife Fund this week.

The conservation nonprofit has published its Living Planet Report every two years since 1998. The report is based on the Living Planet Index, which takes stock of the Earth’s biodiversity by examining 16,704 populations of more than 4,000 vertebrate species around the world.

This year’s report found that, on average, populations of mammals, birds, fish reptiles and amphibians have declined by 60 percent from 1970 to 2014. And humans are largely to blame. The top threats to wild animals including habitat loss and degradation, climate change, overfishing and overhunting, according to the report.

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