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Have we really killed 60 percent of the animals since 1970?

In the end, they found that between 1970 and 2014, the size of spinal populations decreased by 60 percent on…

In the end, they found that between 1970 and 2014, the size of spinal populations decreased by 60 percent on average . It is absolutely not the same as saying that people have thrown 60 percent of the animals – a distinction explicitly mentioned in their technical addendum. “It’s not a census of all wildlife, but reports how wild animal populations have changed in size,” the authors write.

To understand the difference, imagine that you have three populations: 5,000 lions, 500 tigers and 50 bears. Four decades later you only have 4500 lions, 100 tigers and 5 bears (oh my). These three populations have decreased by 10 percent, 80 percent and 90 percent, representing a decline of 60 percent of . But the total number of actual animals has decreased from 5,550 to 4,605, which is a decline of just 1

7 percent .

For the same reasons, it’s also not right that we “killed more than half of the world’s wildlife” or that we can be blamed “by wiping out 60 percent of animal species “or that” the global wilderness population shrank by 60 percent between 1970 and 2014. “All these things may well be true but they make all claims about measurements not assessed in the Living Planet Index.

The uncertainty is mounted when you consider that the 63,000 vertebrates are very exaggerated by the countless species of in invertebrate spiderless creatures like insects, worms, jellyfish and fungi that make up the majority of wildlife . Their fate is darker because researchers have spent less time spending time on monitoring them. They are more difficult to study and draw less attention than the alleged more charismatic vertebrates, although the plans are about to give them their foundation.

The average 60% decline in populations also spoils the fate of individual species. In the hypothetical scenario above, lions are still mostly, the tigers are in trouble, and the bears are on the verge of extinction. And of the species covered by the actual Living Planet Index, half the species is increasing in number, while only half decreases . This means that for those who are actually in decline, the outlook is even worse than appears first.

None of this is to let mankind get out of the hook. Since prehistory, humans have killed so many mammalian species that it would take 3 to 7 million years of evolution to develop a corresponding amount of diversity. At least one third of amphibians are exposed to extinction due to climate change, habitat loss and an apocalyptic myrtle. Even invertebrates are not out of the hook. There may be less data for them, but the data will paint an alarming image of fast-disappearing insects, even in probably untouched forests. At the same time, in the oceans, coral reefs bleach too quickly to recover, with half of the corals in the Great Barrier Reef died since 2016. All this evidence points to a period of “biological destruction” that some resembled the five major mass extinctions of the past. When reality is so sensational, there is no need to sensationalize it even further.

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Faela