Caribbean seeing highest wildlife diversity loss

| 14/09/2020 | 10 Comments
Cayman News Service
Photo courtesy of the Cayman Turtle Centre

(CNS): Human activity is decimating the world’s wildlife population, which has fallen by an average of more than two-thirds in the last 50 years, a new report from the World Wildlife Fund has revealed. And it is in the Caribbean and Latin America where populations have fallen the most. The decline is happening at an unprecedented rate, threatening human life too, the report found.

“The findings are clear,” the authors wrote. “Our relationship with nature is broken.”

The Living Planet Report 2020 shows the results of wildlife monitoring of more than 4,300 different vertebrate species (mammals, fish, birds and amphibians) from around the world. It found that population sizes for those monitored species declined by an average of 68% between 1970 and 2016. In our region, however, the population loss is a staggering 94%.

“In the last 50 years our world has been transformed by an explosion in global trade, consumption and human population growth, as well as an enormous move towards urbanisation. These underlying trends are driving the destruction and degradation of nature, with the world now overusing natural resources at an unprecedented rate, ” the report states. “Only a handful of countries retain most of the last remaining wilderness areas.”

The scientists warned that while measuring biodiversity, the variety of all living things, is complex and there is no single measure that can capture all the changes, the vast majority of indicators show net declines over recent decades.

The most important direct driver of the loss has been land-use change, mainly the conversion of pristine native habitats into agricultural systems as well as over-fishing. Here in Cayman, we can see on a much smaller scale how over-development in the last 50 years has impacted our own pristine environment and posed a challenge to local species, such as turtles, Nassau grouper and blue iguanas.

In the coming decades scientists predict that climate change will become another import factor driving species loss. But while the situation is dire, the authors remain hopeful that the loss can be halted and reversed.

“With an unprecedented and immediate focus on both conservation and a transformation of our modern food system, this gives us a roadmap to restore biodiversity and feed a growing human population,” the report states. “To do this will require strong leadership and action by us all.”

Recently, a series of catastrophic events – wildfires, locust plagues and the COVID-19 pandemic – have shaken the world’s environmental conscience, showing that biodiversity conservation should be a non-negotiable. But the COVID-19 pandemic has seen international meetings pushed into 2021.

“The current state of our planet confirms that the world and its leaders should embrace a new global deal for people and nature that sets us on a path where both can thrive,” the report urges.

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Category: Climate Change, Science & Nature

Comments (10)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Well of course it’s happening faster in the Caribbean. Every time someone moves to the Caribbean, to live their “tropical dream” it has an impact on the environment. The organic growth of the local population (albeit slow) is bad enough.

    Just look at Cayman. The massive influx of people has resulted in a strain not only on the infrastructure, but also the environment.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Not all humans are guilty.
    They guilty ones are the ones in governments that allow dumps to get out of control, approve toxic chemicals and take backhanders from lobbyists.

    Some of us actually care about our amazing planet. Some people see it as a gift from God and treat it with respect, others see the planet as a Mother Goddess and also treat it with respect. Others just have common sense and don’t trash the place by wise life choices. We do have common ground. We have to share the planet while we are here. In respecting our planet, we respect one another.

    On the other hand, some bastards are just plain greedy and will sell their own mothers for a few shekels and unfortunately, these are the fakers that are actually making the laws.

    Let’s just consider the dump here in Cayman. Successive governments have done absolutely nothing to mitigate this disaster including a robust implementation of recycling.

    There is no need to look too far to see who the real criminals really are. Some we elected and others were just put there.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Humans don’t deserve this planet

  4. Anonymous says:

    Turtle lives matter.

  5. Anonymous says:

    3rd world education will lead to that…

    • Anonymous says:

      Funny that. When everything turns to shit, expats start playing the third world card.
      Remember, you are the people who are really calling the shots.
      Take your shit and leave and we will dismantle your fake democracy and show you how it’s done.
      Step 1. Dissolve the corrupt government that your laws prop up.
      Step 2. Tax expats including property taxes.
      Step 3. Independence.
      Step 4. Cut import duty to 8%.
      Step 5. Eliminate 60% of the civil service.
      Step 6. No duty on any green technology.
      Step 7. Tax CUC, Water and Telco profits.
      Step 8. Send the foreign police home.
      Step 9. Announce a National Week of Freedom to celebrate our islands.
      Step 10. Keep cruise ships out.
      Step 11. No more cars for 5 years.
      Step 12. Every driver to pass a stringent test. Each test to be monitored electronically and two testing people. One male and one female.

      Implement laws similar to the ADL so that hateful people can be sent home.

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