Monday, May 19, 2008

Epidemic of Extinctions


The Living Planet Index, produced by WWF, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the Global Footprint Network, says:

1. land species have declined by 25 per cent,

2. marine life by 28 per cent,

3. freshwater species by 29 per cent.

(See: An Epidemic of Extinctions: Decimation of Life on Earth ...)

The causes are reported to be:

1. climate change,

2. pollution,

3. the destruction of animals' natural habitat,

4. the spread of invasive species,

5. the overexploitation of species.

Jonathan Loh, editor of the report, said the sharp fall was "completely unprecedented in terms of human history. You'd have to go back to the extinction of the dinosaurs to see a decline as rapid as this."

Scientists say the current extinction rate is now up to 10,000 times faster than what has historically been recorded as normal.

According to James Leape, director general of WWF:

"Reduced biodiversity means millions of people face a future where food supplies are more vulnerable to pests and disease and where water is in irregular or short supply.

"No one can escape the impact of biodiversity loss because reduced global diversity translates quite clearly into fewer new medicines, greater vulnerability to natural disasters and greater effects from global warming. The industrialised world needs to be supporting the global effort to achieve these targets, not just in their own territories where a lot of biodiversity has already been lost, but also globally."

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