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Worldwide populations of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles have plunged by almost 60 per cent since 1970 as human activities overwhelm the environment, the WWF conservation group said on Thursday.

An index compiled with data from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) to measure the abundance of biodiversity was down 58 per cent from 1970 to 2012 and would fall 67 per cent by 2020 based on current trends, the WWF said in a report.

The decline is yet another sign that people have become the driving force for change on Earth, ushering in the epoch of the Anthropocene, a term derived from “anthropos”, the Greek for “human” and “-cene” denoting a geological period.Conservation efforts appear to be having scant impact as the index is showing a steeper plunge in wildlife populations than two years ago, when the WWF estimated a 52 per cent decline by 2010.

“Wildlife is disappearing within our lifetimes at an unprecedented rate,” Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International, said in a statement of the group’s Living Planet Report, published every two years.“Biodiversity forms the foundation of healthy forests, rivers and oceans,” he said in a statement. “We are entering a new era in Earth’s history: the Anthropocene,” he said. WWF is also known as the World Wide Fund for Nature.

Source:The Hindu