The World Wildlife Fund, or WWF, released the findings of its Living Planet Index, which tracks the state of global biodiversity by identifying the population of thousands of vertebrate species around the globe.
Overall, populations of more than 4,000 species of mammals, reptiles, birds, fish and amphibians have declined by an average of 60pc between 1970 and 2014, the most recent year for which data is available.
"We can no longer ignore the impact of current unsustainable production models and wasteful lifestyles." said Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International.
" This huge loss in the number of animals is mainly attributed to human activities, such as deforestation, overgrazing, and hunting endangered animals".
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"This report sounds a warning shot across our bow".
"We can not build a prosperous future for Europe and its citizens on a depleted planet, so economic and environmental agendas must converge if we are to build a sustainable Europe for all", said Ester Asin, Director of WWF's European Policy Office. "We're degrading habitats, overfishing, overhunting and continuing unsustainable agricultural practices on a large scale". 'There is a limit to what we can destroy, and there is a minimum amount of nature that we need to preserve, ' Lambertini added, noting in the study that the worldwide community has a 'rapidly closing window for action'. Nature gives us fresh air, clean water, food, energy and medicines. Together, we must mobilize public and private actors to show greater action and ambition to reverse the devastating trend of biodiversity loss. "India is an extremely resource-rich country with at least 80% of the (world's) one-horned rhino population, and at least 60% of the global population of Asiatic elephants and tigers so it stands to lose a lot", said Dipankar Ghose, director, species and landscape at WWF, India. As the main cause of this "serious decline in biodiversity", the WWF puts its focus on the "uncontrolled" patterns of human consumption, which it says is "responsible" for the over exploitation of ecosystems and agriculture, as well as of pollution, invasive species and diseases as well as climate change.
The African grey parrot population in south-west Ghana, which has decreased by 98 percent between 1992 and 2014. As the world looks toward the promise of 2020 - a year that will see global leaders coming together on climate, biodiversity and sustainable development - governments, communities, businesses and organizations must come together to deliver a comprehensive framework agreement for nature and people under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). All human economic activity depends on nature, the report said.
More broadly, WWF is asking for the European Union to mainstream climate and biodiversity protection into key economic sectors, including policies related to agriculture, infrastructure development, and climate and energy.
"We are rapidly running out of time", said Prof Johan Rockström, a global sustainability expert at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.