*~* This post continues a series on animals and wildlife. Check out the first in this series here. *~*
Instead of dedicating this post to just one species, today’s post is dedicated to all the world’s wildlife and species therein. In the recent Living Planet Report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), global wildlife numbers were found to have declined by 52 percent since 1970. In other words, during two human generations alone, animals populations have halved. It’s an incredible finding to be sure. Incredible, or maybe unsettling is more appropriate.
The finding also showed that freshwater species declined faster than marine species (76 versus 39 percent). And that’s not all: the WWF has posited that we would need 1.5 Earths to make up for the losses. Meaning it’s virtually impossible to get those animals back.
The question of climate change and global warming aside, animals bear the brunt of human activity. Unfortunately, many living in urban areas are unaware of these events, which mostly occur miles from home. Apart from being awfully cute, many animals help sustain our ecosystem, provide us numerous resources and help maintain our planet’s biosphere.
This New York Times article highlights some of the wildlife and resources most affected by recent activity, including olive oil, coral reefs, wheat, salamanders and walruses. I highly recommend this read. Below, a few tidbits of the cutest, and most endangered, species out there.
- 1,600 pandas remain in the world today
- Lost 50 percent of habitat in China between 1974 and 1989
- Almost exclusively consume bamboo, which itself is dwindling in numbers
- There are almost 40 subspecies of dolphins.
- Typically 4 feet long and 90 pounds in weight, but some (killer whales) can measure up to 30 feet long and 10 tonnes in weight
- Some species have up to 250 teeth, and their curved mouths make for a fixed smile.
- Many dolphin sub-species face near-extinction due to pollutants and boat disturbance.
- At 10 feet tall, Siberian tigers are the world’s largest cats
- Hungry tigers can eat up to 60 pounds in one night alone (!)
- The wild tiger population has dropped by 97% over the last hundred years due to habitat destruction and illegal trade
- About 3,200 tigers remain in the world today
- Classified as endangered
Wildlife makes our world more beautiful, more resourceful and provides a multitude of benefits without which, humans would be largely incomplete. Or certainly, our existence would be vastly different than it is today. The least we can do is appreciate and protect them.
C x N
Sources: WWF, NY Times, The Guardian, National Geographic, BBC, Reuters, Science World Report. Photos: Flickr (links embedded)
[Featured image can be found here (via The Guardian)]