Two-Thirds of Wild Animals ‘Will Be Gone by 2020’

A mass extinction may drop the number of the planet’s wild animals by two-thirds before the year 2020, a new report claims. According to the researchers, the falling numbers are being caused by hunting, destroyed wild habitats, and pollution. The comprehensive analysis compiled by scientists from WWF and the Zoological Society of London found that animal populations dropped by 58 percent between 1970 and 2012. That same loss is on track to hit 67 percent by 2020. Those animals range from vultures and salamanders, to elephants and gorillas. “The richness and diversity of life on Earth is fundamental to the complex life systems that underpin it,” said Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF. “Life supports life itself and we are part of the same equation. Lose biodiversity and the natural world and the life-support systems, as we know them today, will collapse.” In a foreword to the study, Stockholm University Prof. Johan Rockström wrote: “We are no longer a small world on a big planet. We are now a big world on a small planet, where we have reached a saturation point.”