Steep Global Wildlife Decline may be Worse than Feared, Israeli Study Finds
A new paper by Israeli researchers has not only confirmed a disputed estimate that wildlife populations have declined by over two-thirds in the past 50 years, but showed that the true drop may have been even more severe, according to a Monday, January 31, statement.
The study, published last week in the journal Nature, should spur people to action and reconsider the relationship between human beings and nature, said the authors, from Ben Gurion University of the Negev and Tel Aviv University.
“Rather than discourage us from action, we feel that our work should be viewed as a call to arms,” said co-author Shai Meiri from Tel Aviv University. “Rapid and comprehensive changes in how we view our relationships with nature are needed – and the onus is on us to make sure they happen before it is too late.”
Going further, the researchers took a closer look at the overlap between monitored populations and protected wildlife areas around the world. The data was then compared to random samples from other locations and their proximity to the global network of protected areas. The results showed that populations that were sampled for the Living Planet Report were “much more likely to be inside protected areas than would be expected to occur by chance.”
It indicated that the true wildlife decline could be even more dire than previously thought.
“This is truly alarming,” said co-author Gabriel Caetano. “If populations inside protected areas – where we focus a lot of our conservation efforts – are doing so badly, those that reside outside protected areas are probably worse off. The true situation of nature – mostly not monitored or protected – may be much worse.”
“A lot of focus and attention by the public, governments, and NGOs is focused on the extinction of species,” the statement said. “Nevertheless, extinction is but the unwanted conclusion of a process that starts with harm to individual animals or plants by people and leads to their populations declining.”
Authors called for greater monitoring of populations and species in different locations and warned that “many populations, species, and pristine locations would be lost forever without concentrated and direct action.” (TOI/VFI News)
“God, we ask that you protect the animals, wildlife, and children for generations to come.”