Many wildlife populations have seen significant decline since 1970: analysis

Jacob W. Frank/National Park Service via AP, File
FILE – A wolf is shown in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo., in this file photo provided by the National Park Service, Nov. 7, 2017. Idaho’s wolf population appears to be holding steady despite recent changes by lawmakers that allow expanded methods and seasons for killing wolves, the state’s top wildlife official said Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022.

Populations of thousands of animal species from around the world have declined by an average of 69 percent since 1970, according to a new report

Researchers studied nearly 32,000 populations of 5,230 species from around the globe and found that on average, those populations declined by 69 percent between 1970 and 2018.

The report does not suggest that extinction rates of individual species are rising, but researchers say the finding is significant because it provides a “snapshot” of overall changes to ecosystems and their health. 

“Essentially, declines in abundance are early warning indicators of overall ecosystem health,” the report said. 

The report, from the World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London, specifically looked at mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish. 

It said that the reasons for the declines include habitat loss, invasive species, pollution, climate change and diseases. 

A previous report released two years ago and measured through the year 2016 saw a 68 percent decline in 20,811 populations of 4,392 species since 1970. 

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