As we have been informed by the WWF Living Planet Report 2014, there has been an estimated population crash of 52 percent of all vertebrates on Earth since 1970. Those animals have disappeared in a time frame smaller than two human generations. Consider that populations of Central and South America have nose-dived by 83 percent and you get an even more alarming sense of the rate of this destruction.
Marine species are estimated to have plummeted by 39 percent, with the most intense losses in the tropics and Antarctic waters. Leatherback turtle populations have been dwindling in the Atlantic and Pacific. Leatherbacks in Las Baulas National Park, Costa Rica for example, are facing catastrophe as numbers declined by 95% between 1989 and 2002. Fisheries by-catch and continued development on nesting beaches are the main threats to these animals.
During a presentation to the members of RSPB’s Conference for Nature 2014 in London, Sir David Attenborough has shared his view that while nature reserves and national parks have a valuable place in conservation, these efforts alone are not enough.
Sir David called upon naturalists, administrators, business executives and politicians to make necessary decisions to positively affect wildlife and announced:
"The fact of the matter is that we, homo sapiens, are dependent on the natural world, we are part of the natural world. We depend on the natural world for the air we breathe, for the food we eat. Some people might even say we are dependent on the natural world and contemplating the natural world for our very sanity.”
Image source: Michael Patrick O'Neill/Alamy