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WWF’s Living Planet Report reveals a devastating 69% drop in wildlife populations on average in less than a lifetime

The newest edition of the Report provides the scientific evidence to back what nature has been demonstrating repeatedly: unsustainable human activity is pushing the planet’s natural systems that support life on Earth to the edge.

  • Tropical regions face wildlife populations plummeting at a staggering rate

  • Freshwater species populations have suffered an 83% fall

  • The report’s Living Planet Index shows that there is no time to lose in securing a nature-positive society

ZAGREB - Monitored wildlife populations* - mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish - have seen a devastating 69% drop on average since 1970, according to WWF’s Living Planet Report (LPR) 2022. The report highlights the stark outlook of the state of nature and urgently warns governments, businesses and the public to take transformative action to reverse the destruction of biodiversity.

With its biggest dataset yet, featuring almost 32,000 populations of 5,230 species, the Living Planet Index (LPI), provided within the report by ZSL (Zoological Society of London), shows it is within tropical regions that monitored vertebrate wildlife populations are plummeting at a particularly staggering rate.

WWF is extremely concerned about this trend given that these geographical areas are some of the most biodiverse in the world. In particular the LPI data reveals that between 1970 and 2018, monitored wildlife populations in Latin America and the Caribbean region have dropped by 94% on average

In less than a lifetime, monitored freshwater populations have fallen by an average of 83%, the largest decline of any species group. Habitat loss and barriers to migration routes are responsible for about half of the threats to monitored migratory fish species.

Commenting on the findings, Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International, said: “We face the double emergencies of human-induced climate change and biodiversity loss, threatening the well-being of current and future generations. WWF is extremely worried by this new data showing a devastating fall in wildlife populations, in particular in tropical regions that are home to some of the most biodiverse landscapes in the world.” 

World leaders are due to meet at the 15th Conference of Parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) this December for a once-in-a-decade opportunity to course-correct for the sake of people and the planet. WWF is advocating for leaders to commit to a ‘Paris-style’ agreement capable of reversing biodiversity loss to secure a nature-positive world by 2030.

“At the COP15 biodiversity conference this December, leaders have an opportunity to reset our broken relationship with the natural world and deliver a healthier, more sustainable future for all with an ambitious nature-positive global biodiversity agreement,” said Dr Lambertini. “In the face of our escalating nature crisis, it’s essential this agreement delivers immediate action on the ground, including through a transformation of the sectors driving nature loss, and financial support to developing countries.”

Nataša Kalauz, CEO of WWF Adria highlights: "According to the latest data for Europe, although bird and mammal populations are showing positive trends, amphibians, reptiles and freshwater fish populations are declining mainly due to the construction of largely unnecessary hydro-energy infrastructure."

"It is the responsibility of all of us to be part of the positive change if we want the future generations to live on a healthy planet. This crisis our planet faces can only be mitigated by changing the development paradigm and by comprehensive decarbonization of all sectors. We have to change the way we produce and consume products, how we live, which transport we choose, how we eat, how and in what way we manage limited natural resources. These are serious challenges not only for countries in our region, but also for the entire world. Without a collective awareness that the responsibility for action rests on all of us, we can hardly expect necessary positive changes", continues Kalauz.

Find out more about the Living Planet Report 2022. here.

*The 2022 global Living Planet Index (LPI) shows an average 69% decline in monitored vertebrate wildlife populations. The percentage change in the index reflects the average proportional change in animal population sizes tracked over 48 years - not the number of individual animals lost nor the number of populations lost.
Mountain gorilla, Republic of the Congo

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