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Wildlife numbers plummeting: "A great extinction is underway"





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The World Wildlife Fund, in conjunction with the Zoological Society of London, has released a report that concludes more than one in four of all wildlife species has been lost since 1970.
Populations of land-based species fell by 25%, marine by 28% and freshwater by 29%, it says. Humans are wiping out about 1% of all other species every year, and one of the "great extinction episodes" in the Earth's history is under way, it says. Pollution, farming and urban expansion, over-fishing and hunting are blamed.
This level of extinction has not been seen since the age of the dinosaurs. The Living Planet Index compiled by the Society with the World Wildlife Fund cites marine species as the most impacted:
Some of the worst hit are marine species which saw their numbers plummet by 28% in just 10 years, between 1995 and 2005. Populations of ocean birds have fallen by 30% since the mid 1990s, while land-based populations have dropped by 25%. Among the creatures most seriously affected have been African antelopes, swordfish and hammerhead sharks. Another, the baiji - or Yangtze River Dolphin - may have been lost altogether.
"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," said James Leape, World Wildlife Fund...
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