Rates of Biodiversity Decline
How bad is the rate of biodiversity decline?
Billions of animals have been lost as their habitats have become smaller with each passing year.
- The extinction rate of species is now thought to be about 1,000 times higher than before humans dominated the planet.
- This may be even faster than the losses after a giant meteorite wiped out the dinosaurs 65m years ago.
- The sixth mass extinction in geological history has already begun, according to scientists.
- The “red list” produced by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, has only assessed 5% of known species. But for the best known groups it finds many are threatened - 25% of mammals, 41% of amphibians and 13% of birds.
- New studies are examining the drop in the total number of animals, capturing the plight of the world’s most common creatures. The results are scary. Billions of individual populations have been lost all over the planet, with the number of animals living on Earth having plunged by half since 1970.
- Researchers call the massive loss of wildlife a “biological annihilation” representing a “frightening assault on the foundations of human civilisation”.