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Half the world's wildlife gone over last 40 years
Source: CBS

The world has lost 52 percent of its biodiversity since 1970, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) announced in a study released today on the state of our planet.

According to the Living Planet Report 2014, "the number of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish across the globe is, on average, about half the size it was 40 years ago. This is a much bigger decrease than has been reported previously, as a result of a new methodology which aims to be more representative of global biodiversity."

Scientists studied trends in more than 10,000 populations of 3,038 mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and fish species and calculated a "Living Planet Index" (LPI) that measures the health of species in various environments and regions. While the LPI in temperate regions declined by a worrisome 36 percent from 1970 to 2010, in tropical climates the index dropped 56 percent. Latin American biodiversity took the biggest hit globally, plummeting 83 percent.

Jon Hoekstra, chief scientist at WWF, broke it down another way: "39 percent of terrestrial wildlife gone, 39 percent of marine wildlife gone, 76 percent of freshwater wildlife gone -- all in the past 40 years."



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