A 2015 study has shown that Earth has entered an era of mass extinction – unparalleled since the dinosaurs died out 66 million years ago along with 75% of all life.
Whilst the current number of extinctions has not yet reached that level, the rate is concerning scientists.
Researches mapped 27,600 species of birds, amphibians, mammals and reptiles – nearly half of known terrestrial vertebrate species. Unfortunately the results makes for grim reading.
The authors of the study, Rodolfo Dirzo and Paul Ehrlich from the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, and Gerardo Ceballos, of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, have said that the “Earth’s sixth mass extinction episode has proceeded further than most assume,” and that “The world cannot wait to address damage to biodiversity and that the window of time for effective action was very short, “probably two or three decades at most”.
The research also showed that 30 per cent of vertebrate species were declining in size or territorial range, and according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 41% of amphibians are threatened with extinction, as are 26% of all mammals.
The drivers that cause extinction include habitat loss and invasive organisms, as well as over-exploitation, pollution and climate change.
Director of Science and Policy at WWF UK, Mike Barrett, has said that the study’s findings highlighted the urgent need to take action, to save the world’s wildlife.”