‘Earth is losing biodiversity at a rate seen only during mass extinctions’

Wild animal numbers dropped 60 per cent in 40 years and in Latin America and the Caribbean 89 per cent of indigenous mammals like the jaguar are gone

The WWF's report comes just weeks after a United Nations report on climate change warned that global temperatures are rising quickly, and risk rising to 1.5 degrees, which would wipe out most of the planet's coral reefs and cause severe heatwaves.

The study of animal populations is one of the most comprehensive ever taken, with 59 scientists from across the world involved. Current rates of species extinction are now up to 1000 times higher than before human involvement in animal ecosystems became a factor.

"The only good news is that we know exactly what is happening".

The top threats to species identified in the report are directly linked to human activities, including habitat loss and degradation and overexploitation of wildlife.

"We are rapidly running out of time", said Prof Johan Rockström, a global sustainability expert at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.

The report highlights that over recent decades, human activity has also severely impacted the habitats and natural resources wildlife and humanity depend on such as oceans, forests, coral reefs, wetlands and mangroves.

The report based on the ongoing survey of more than 4,000 species spread over 16,700 populations suggest that that situation is awful right now and it is getting worse with the increase in our unbridled consumption. South and Central America were hit hardest as rain forests shrank, with 20 percent of the Amazon disappearing.

Quoting The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture Report released by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the WWF report said marine capture production in India increased by an average of 11.9 per cent from 2005 to 2014 and saw a 2.9 per cent increase from 2015 to 2016. Barrett also said that this decimation is jeopardizing the future of humanity.

For the new assessment, the WWF used the Global Living Planet Index that tracks the population abundance of thousands of vertebrates from around the world to measure changes in biodiversity. The report points out that from 1970 to 2014 humanity has wiped out nearly 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles. It said humans are "pushing the planet to the brink" and taking "an unprecedented toll on wildlife".

According to the report, only a quarter of land on Earth is substantively free from the impacts of human activities.

"The situation is really bad, and it keeps getting worse", WWF International director general Marco Lambertini told AFP.

WWF along with conservation and science colleagues around the world are calling for a new global deal between nature and people, involving decision makers at every level to make the right political, financial and consumer choices.

The report also recorded a rise in ecological footprint or consumption of natural resources by 190 per cent in the past 50 years.

The report uses the term "Great Acceleration" as the unique event we are now experiencing in the 4.5 billion-year history of the planet with exploding human population and economic growth driving unprecedented planetary change through the increased demand for energy, land and water. The Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Agreement and Convention on Biological Diversity were evidence the world was trying to change the path for the natural world.