If animal populations continue to decline at their current rate, we are heading for a mass extinction. New research estimates that 41% of amphibians will be wiped off the planet by 2200 as a direct result of human activity. Scientists also warn that we’ll lose over 25% of all mammals and about 13% of birds.
According to the study, these drops in biodiversity are directly related to habitat destruction, pollution, over-fishing, and the worsening effects of climate change. All of these contribute to a weakened animal population and species will continue to be threatened as they become more vulnerable. Human activity is at the root of all these problems. The species measured in the study represent a small fraction of the total number of unique species living on Earth, so the figures could be even worse than predicted.
Another study published in Science earlier this year indicates that this would be the sixth ‘great extinction’ known to the history of Earth. The last mass extinction occurred 66-million years ago, ending the Cretaceous period and wiping out the dinosaurs. The same study also calculates that the current species decline caused by humans is happening at a rate more than 1,000 times that of the last one. If the human population of the planet doesn’t make drastic changes today, the rates of decline will surely continue and perhaps even increase. The lasting effects on future generations are nothing if not staggering.