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Wildlife declines by half in four decades

Wildlife populations around the world have more than halved in just four decades in the face of unsustainable human consumption, a report has warned.

Mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish have declined on average by 52pc from 1970 to 2010, according to WWF's Living Planet Report, which uses information on 10,380 populations of 3,038 species to see how global wildlife is faring.

The figures mean that where in 1970 there was a population of 100 animals, now there were only 50.

The main threats to wildlife populations are loss or damage to their habitat and exploitation through hunting and fishing, while climate change is already having an impact.

The situation is worst in low-income countries, where wildlife populations have declined by 58pc on average between 1970 and 2010, while the richest countries saw a 10pc increase.


Examples of wildlife that are suffering serious declines include forest elephants in Africa and marine turtles.

David Nussbaum, chief executive of World Wildlife Fund UK, said: "The scale of destruction highlighted in this report should be a wake-up call.

"But next year - when countries are due to come together to agree on a new global climate agreement, as well as a set of sustainable development goals - presents us with a unique opportunity to reverse the trends."