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Global animal, bird and fish populations have plummeted more than two-thirds in less than 50 years

Since 1998, The Living Planet Report has been tracking the state of global biodiversity.

This year’s edition of The Living Planet Report provides a platform for the best science, cutting-edge research and diverse voices on the impact of humans on the health of our Earth. More than 50 experts from academia, policy, international development and conservation organisations have contributed. WWF’s Living Planet Report 2020 shows the scale of the challenge – and highlights what we can do, both here in Australia and around the world, to change the way we live.

The Living Planet Report says "The future of the planet is in our hands."

Key findings from 2020 include:

  • Global wildlife populations fell by 68%, on average, between 1970 and 2016, while some Australian populations plummeted by up to 97%.

  • Causes of biodiversity loss – deforestation, unsustainable agriculture, and the illegal wildlife trade – are also contributing to the emergence of zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19.

  • Humanity’s influence on the decline of nature is so great that scientists believe we are entering a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene.

  • Australia’s Bramble Cay melomys features as the first known mammal extinction to be linked directly to climate change.

  • The report outlines how, with the right conservation effort, commitment, investment and expertise, species can be brought back from the brink. An example outlined in the report explains how following the creation of a marine protected area, the relative abundance of the grey reef shark increased by more than 360% between 2004 and 2016 on Ashmore Reef in Western Australia.

  • The report includes the latest findings measured by the Living Planet Index tracking 21,000 populations of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish since 1970. This includes more than 1100 populations in Australia, with almost all showing continual declines. Read the Summary

Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate of any country in the world, and the bushfires of summer 2019-20 have only made it much worse.

Over 12 million hectares of vital bushland and habitat were destroyed in the fires that swept across our country and nearly 3 billion animals were impacted by the blazes.

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