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Shocking WWF numbers: It really is that bad about our environment

Between 1970 and 2010, global fish stocks have halved.
Photo: iStock

Animal populations are shrinking faster than expected

An alarming report by the environmental organization WWF now shows that our environment is worse off than previously expected.

Normally, the Swiss environmental organization WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) publishes its report, the Living Planet Report, every two years. But as the situation on our planet continues to worsen and the situation worsened faster than was foreseeable at first, it has decided to issue another report this year, the so-called Living Blue Planet Report.

The numbers bring to our attention the dramatic changes our planet has undergone in recent years and decades. According to the WWF, global stocks of marine mammals, seabirds, reptiles and fish have declined by 50 percent between 1970 and 2010 . Special species like mackerel and tuna have hit it even harder. Here, the experts expect a decline of over 70 percent. It is hard to believe, but now every fourth (!) Shark and ray species is threatened with extinction.

One of the main causes of these terrifying numbers: overfishing. Fish is considered one of the most traded goods in the world. But the destruction of important habitats such as coral reefs and mangrove forests also threatens the survival of many animal species. Currently, three quarters of coral reefs on our planet are considered threatened. They serve 25 percent of the maritime species as a habitat. Between 1980 and 2005, one fifth of the mangrove forests were destroyed.

Karoline Schacht, the fishery expert of the WWF, warns of the consequences of these developments and makes it clear that action must be taken immediately: "We are extremely curious. Our seas urgently need rest so as not to collapse before our eyes. The ocean as a dynamic system with innumerable interconnections usually has a good recreational potential. But we have to get our mistakes under control. "

Important actions that should now be taken: the establishment of marine protected areas that are not used by humans and the introduction of sustainable fisheries. In addition, precautions should be taken that affect climate protection. Recently, the case of a down-weighed polar bear pointed out how life-threatening the rapid climate change is for a wide variety of animal species. Since their habitat almost melts away under their paws, the beautiful animals sometimes find it very difficult to find enough food.

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The WWF urges the United Nations to define these measures and others in its Sustainable Development Goals, which will be adopted at the end of September. According to the organization, by 2020, at least ten percent of maritime habitats near the coast and in the sea would need to be designated as protected areas.