The World Wildlife Balance report says that the number of mammals, birds, reptiles and fish on Earth has declined by 68% over the past 50 years.
According to the report, the group of freshwater animals living in rivers and lakes suffers the most. Their number has decreased by 84% compared to 1970.
In terms of geographic areas, the largest decline in animal numbers was recorded in South and Central America. There is a decrease in the number of more than 90%.
Boris Solovyov, Chief Project Coordinator of the Biodiversity Conservation Program of the World Bank for Nature in Russia, told the 360 website about this.
He said: “If we talk about certain species that are now at great risk of extinction, then there is the California porpoise, an animal that looks like a small dolphin that lives off the coast of Mexico. The expert confirmed that only 15-18 individuals remained. .”
Another example is the northern white rhinoceros. According to Solovyov, only two females are now alive. Both of them cannot reproduce for various reasons. The male died last year. The genetic material from it has been preserved, like that of mountain gorillas. It is also critically endangered with about 50 left.
He continued: “If we talk about Russia, the saiga (steppe antelope) is on the verge of extinction, and it has experienced the largest decline in its population in the 20th century among all Russian mammals. Other endangered species in Russia include the Sakhalin sturgeon and the Amur tiger. And the Far Eastern tiger. There are only a few individuals left, but now the process of gradual restoration of their numbers is underway.”
The main reason for the decline in the number of rare animals is the destruction of their habitats and significant damage caused by the construction of infrastructure and the subsequent fragmentation of land necessary for the life of animals. Another reason is the cruel treatment of animals, their hunting and fishing on a very large scale, which causes great damage to nature. This also affects overfishing. The third reason is environmental pollution.
A new and very dangerous reason for the decline in the animal population lies in climate change. This is a new threat. “We cannot fully assess the scale of this threat, but they say that it is one of the most significant,” Solovyov said.
At the same time, this year’s report differs from previous ones in that scientists presented the results of scientific modeling for the first time. They demonstrate that it is possible to prevent the extinction of animals. It is simply possible to strengthen nature protection activities, i.e. create new protected areas.
But this is not enough. And in the near future, nothing will change, according to Solovyov, if we continue to deal only with traditional methods of protection. The most important thing this report says is that we need the participation of ordinary people, business people and the economy.”