Scientists have said through a new study that human overpopulation and over consumption of resources on our planet has already triggered the sixth mass extinction event on our Planet and is more severe than previously thought.
Researchers have published their findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences calling loss of wildlife as “biological annihilation” that represents a “frightening assault on the foundations of human civilisation”.
Data indicates that there has been massive loss of wildlife across the globe with billions of regional or local populations wiped off the face of the planet. Previous studies have shown species are going extinct at a significantly faster rate than for millions of years before, but even so extinctions remain relatively rare giving the impression of a gradual loss of biodiversity.
Taking a broader view, scientists assessed many common species which are losing populations all over the world as their ranges shrink, but remain present elsewhere. The team involved with the study found that a third of the thousands of species losing populations are not currently considered endangered and that up to 50 per cent of all individual animals have been lost in recent decades.
Almost half of land mammals have lost 80 per cent of their range in the last century, ‘The Guardian’ reported. The scientists found billions of populations of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians have been lost all over the planet, leading them to say a sixth mass extinction has already progressed further than was thought.
“The resulting biological annihilation obviously will have serious ecological, economic and social consequences,” researchers said.
“Humanity will eventually pay a very high price for the decimation of the only assemblage of life that we know of in the universe,” they said.
The research analysed data on 27,500 species of land vertebrates and found the ranges of a third have shrunk in recent decades.