A “biological annihilation” of wildlife in recent decades means a sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history is already well underway and is more severe than previously feared, according to new research.
|‘The lion was historically distributed over most of Africa, |
southern Europe and the Middle East. Now the vast majority
of lion populations are gone.’
Scientists analysed both common and rare species and found billions of regional or local populations have been lost. They blame human overpopulation and overconsumption for the crisis and warn that it threatens the survival of human civilisation, although there remains a short window of time in which to act.
The new study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, eschews the normally sober tone of scientific papers and calls the massive loss of wildlife a “biological annihilation” that represents a “frightening assault on the foundations of human civilisation”.
Prof Gerardo Ceballos, at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, who led the work, said: “The situation has become so bad it would not be ethical not to use strong language.”
Read Damian Carrington’s story on The Guardian - “Earth’s sixth mass extinction event already under way, scientists warn.”