There has been a decline in the vertebrate species’ population in the world by around 68 per cent from 1970 to 2016.

This was according to the Living Planet Report 2020 released by international non-profit World Wide Fund for Nature on September 10.

The Living Planet Index (LPI) is a measure of the state of the world’s biological diversity.

It is based on population trends of vertebrate species in terrestrial, freshwater and marine habitats.

The Living Planet Report used this index to calculate the decline in the population of the vertebrates.

Around 21,000 populations of over 4,000 species of vertebrates were tracked from 1970 and 2016.

The index showed that the wildlife populations in freshwater habitats suffered a decline of 84 per cent, equivalent to four per cent per year, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Citing the example of population decline of Chinese sturgeon – a fish species found in Yangtze river- the report stated that its population declined by 97 per cent between 1982 and 2015.

“This decline has been mainly due to the damming of the river’s waterway,” reported Down To Earth (DTE) quoting from the report.

The report further stated that large-sized fishes are heavily impacted by the construction of dams as it blocks their migratory routes to spawning and feeding grounds.

The index also pointed out factors it said were some of the drivers for this decline in the population of vertebrate species,” DTE further wrote.

The report further added that these factors are believed to have increased the planet’s vulnerability to pandemics.

Other factors contributing to this loss of population of vertebrates are natural habitat loss, degradation and deforestation driven by food production processes.

“The destruction of natural habitats was only possible if ambitious conservation efforts were embraced and transformational changes were made to the way food is produced and consumed,” said the report.

“Changes needed include making food production and trade more efficient and ecologically sustainable, reducing waste and favouring healthier and more environmentally friendly diets,” further added the report.

WWF International Director General Marco Lambertini said, “In the midst of a global pandemic, it is now more important than ever to take unprecedented and coordinated global action to halt and start to reverse the loss of biodiversity and wildlife populations across the globe by the end of the decade.”

“Our own survival increasingly depends on it, Lambertini added.

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