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68 per cent of Biodiversity Loss in 5 Decades: WWF Report

Manogna Shivaprasad

15th September 2020

African grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus) are nowhere to be found, except in Ghana. (Source: Andy Isaacson/WWF-US)

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released its annual Living Planet Report on 9th September 2020. It revealed that the world had lost an average of 68 per cent species that existed globally in a duration of five decades between 1970 to 2016.

The alarming note of the report suggests that even though conservation is vital, there is not much predicted to improve by 2050. Latin America and the Caribbean have lost 94 per cent of their biodiversity with the Asia Pacific catching up with a disturbing 45 per cent drop.

During an interview with The Times of India, Sejal Worah, Director of WWF India programme, stated that India doesn’t stand apart from the overall scenario in the globe. More than 12 per cent of wild mammals and 3 per cent birds are entering the endangered species list, while 19 per cent amphibians have a more urgent and immediate threat of extinction.

Further investigations reveal that even though the cause and effect cycle of the environment appears mysterious, it is, in reality, very interdependent on consecutive events. For instance, in the southern Arabian Peninsula, two massive cyclones caused catastrophic damage with heavy rains. This impact of the 2018 hurricane had an influence on different continents a year later in 2019. In one case, the remaining waters served as a vicious breeding ground for locusts that went on to invade South Asia and East Africa.

Other causes for the loss of biodiversity include species overexploitation; this includes activities like overfishing, invasion of species, diseases, pollution, and climate change. Simultaneously, urbanisation, agricultural expansion and pollution have, over the last four decades, have bled India’s natural wetlands dry.

Out of 20 wetlands in India, 14 will be moving to the water scarcity list by 2050, reveals WWF India’s report on Water Stewardship for Industries. Sejal Wora concluded that in India, adequate and accurate data, on aspects regarding plant and animal species, and their habitats, are simply not available.

The unavailability of reports is causing problems to those who are attempting to list and consolidate issues. “The report indicates that our relationship with biodiversity and nature are unravelling. Even the health of the soil is declining, and we are losing the topsoil, including in India, at an alarming rate,” she said.

(Sources: Indian Express, Times of India, Webwire)

Edited by Nayana Dhanya

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