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Tropical species decline by 60 per cent

October 18, 2010

From The Telegraph

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) found wildlife in the tropics has declined by 60 per cent since 1970.

Iconic species like tigers, turtles, gorillas and hundreds of birds such as the white-rumped vulture are in danger of going extinct, as well as thousands of lesser-known animals.

Freshwater species in the tropics are down a disastrous 70 per cent, with animals like the Amazon river pink dolphin already dying out.The report blamed the rate of human consumption, that has doubled in under fifty years, meaning rainforests are being cut down, the seas overfished and grassland ploughed up for farming.

The ‘Living Planet Index’ found that the numbers of 2,500 species in 8,000 populations around the world has fallen by 30 per cent.

However wildlife in temperate climates has actually increased by 30 per cent in the last 40 years, as countries like Britain seek to protect species.

David Nussbaum, Chief Executive of WWF UK, said the disparity was caused by the rich world plundering the resources of the poor world, while protecting the environment in their own backyard.

He warned that if the trend continues the world will run not only run out of natural resources but damage the ‘ecosystem services’ such as water cycles and clean air all humans rely on.

“The loss of biodiversity and habitats undermines the natural systems upon which we depend for the food we eat, the air we breathe and the stable climate we need. The depletion of natural resources poses a major risk to our economic security because scarcity of resources and degraded natural systems will increase the price of food, raw materials and other commodities – for both producers and consumers,” he said.

From The Telegraph

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