Global wild populations would shrink to two-thirds by 2020, new report says

The populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles would fall 67 per cent by 2020 on current trends

Global wild populations have been declining at an alarming rate, plunged by almost 60 per cent between 1970 and 2012, a new report stated.

According The Living Planet assessment, delivered by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and WWF, the populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles would fall 67 per cent by 2020 on current trends.

Director general of WWF, Marco Lambertini, said: “The richness and diversity of life on Earth is fundamental to the complex life systems that underpin it. Life supports life itself and we are part of the same equation.”

“Lose biodiversity and the natural world and the life support systems, as we know them today, will collapse,” Lambertini added.

A report published in 2014 said the global wildlife populations had reduced to half over the last 40 years.

The new report revealed that the biggest losses are witnessed among animals living in lakes, rivers and wetlands and the most contributing factor are habitat loss, wildlife trade, pollution and climate change.

The assessment claimed to have monitored 14,200 populations of 3,700 different species and also collected data from peer-reviewed studies, government statistics and surveys conducted by conservation groups and NGOs.

However, the report suggested a positive growth of some species worldwide, arguing the numbers of Tiger are increasing and the name of giant panda has been removed from the list of endangered species.

It also warned that the decline in wild life population will affect the human population. “Increased human pressure threatens the natural resources that humanity depends upon, increasing the risk of water and food insecurity and competition over natural resources,” the report stated.

Meanwhile, some experts have raised criticism over the report citing doubts on the data provided.

Stuart Pimm, professor of conservation ecology at Duke University, said there were too many gaps in the data to boil population loss down to a single figure, BBC News reported.

“There are some numbers [in the report] that are sensible, but there are some numbers that are very, very sketchy,” he quoted saying in the BBC News report.