According to the WWF report: Massive species extinction: Humans have apparently destroyed almost 70 percent of the vertebrate population since 1970

According to the environmental organization WWF, mankind has destroyed almost 70 percent of all known vertebrate populations in the past few decades.

According to the WWF report: Massive species extinction: Humans have apparently destroyed almost 70 percent of the vertebrate population since 1970

According to the environmental organization WWF, mankind has destroyed almost 70 percent of all known vertebrate populations in the past few decades. The causes of this massive extinction of species are "all man-made," according to the Living Planet Report, which the WWF published on Thursday in Berlin. Mankind is destroying its own livelihood "with the jackhammer" and further heating up the "twin crisis" of species extinction and climate change.

The executive director of WWF Germany, Christoph Heinrich, emphasized that health, economy and the entire existence of mankind depended on nature. Nature is "like a tower in which each building block represents an animal or plant species". "The more stones are knocked out of the tower, i.e. the more species die out, the more unstable it becomes," Heinrich explained.

The WWF has been publishing the Living Planet Report since 1998, it is published every two years. For the latest edition, experts from the environmental organization, together with the London Zoological Society, evaluated more than 31,000 stocks of more than 5200 species of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles. Freshwater species are therefore most affected by the species crisis. Their populations have declined by an average of 83 percent since 1970.

The report names South and Central America as a geographical hotspot for species extinction. The animal populations examined there shrank by an average of 94 percent.

In addition to habitat destruction and pollution, the climate crisis with effects such as increasing heat waves and ocean acidification is one of the main reasons for the species crisis, the report says. On the other hand, a changed species composition also has an impact on the earth's climate, for example because dying forests could store less climate-damaging CO2. "The species crisis and the climate crisis are fatefully linked," warns the WWF report.

The WWF cites the western lowland gorilla as an example of particularly endangered animal species: its population in the Nki National Park in Cameroon decreased by 69 percent between 2005 and 2019 alone. In Brazil, the number of Amazonian dolphins decreased by 67 percent between 1994 and 2016. In Europe, the skylark suffered particularly from environmental changes: their population decreased by 56 percent from 1980 to 2019.

The WWF named the World Conference on Nature as an opportunity to stop the extinction of species. At the December meeting in Montréal, Canada, a global agreement on the preservation of biological diversity is to be negotiated. The WWF called on the federal government to "commit itself to ambitious goals for our nature and to increase Germany's international biodiversity funding to at least two billion euros a year by 2025".

According to the WWF, the growing stocks of white-tailed eagles in northern Germany show that the extinction of species can be stopped. In 1945 there was only one pair of territories in Schleswig-Holstein, but in 2010 there were 57. The stock of gray seals in the Baltic Sea increased by 139 percent from 2013 to 2019 alone. In Nepal, the tiger population grew by 91 percent from 121 specimens in 2009 to 235 tigers in 2018, according to the report.

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