Widely misinterpreted report still shows catastrophic animal decline
New research shows that surveyed animal populations have declined by more than 50 percent on average in the last two generations.
The World Wildlife Fund For Nature’s Living Planet Report released this week describes a catastrophic decline in animal populations the world over. But it was widely misinterpreted by many outlets, with headlines wrongly insisting that we’ve lost 60 percent of all animals over the course of 40 years. The reality is more nuanced, though still alarming.
The biannual report examined trends in the global Living Planet Index, a biologist’s “stock market index” for the diversity and abundance of animals worldwide. If the global score is steady or increasing, animals are generally thriving, while a falling score indicates a planet-wide problem.
The Living Planet Index has taken a sudden nosedive—it’s down 60 percent since 1970, the blink of an eye in evolutionary