Environment

The Most Surprising Facts About Wildlife

By Jil Carrara
22.04.19

We take a look at the most shocking facts about human's impact on other animal species.

Our planet is facing a mass extinction of species, happening at the fastest rate in 60 million years, since dinosaurs went extinct. Dinosaurs however disappeared because of natural causes, whereas the destruction we are facing today is man-made. Human civilisations have caused huge damage to the animal world because of climate change, poaching, trafficking, deforestation, pollution and unsustainable agriculture that uses pesticides, an exorbitant amount of water and land alike.

Here’s a few facts about the impact we’ve had on animal populations, both good and bad. 

The most endangered species at a glance, according to WWF:

80 Sumatran Rhinos in the wild 

90 Amur Leopard in the wild

1,000 Gorilla’s in the wild 

1,860 Giant Panda in the wild

3,900 Tigers in the wild

4,000 Snow Leopard in the wild

 

Bad news   

  • More than 1 million species are threatened with extinction (Source)
  • We are amidst the largest period of species extinction in the last 60 million years. We are losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the normal rate, with multiple extinctions daily. (Source
  • Close to 60% of the world’s 504 primate species are threatened with extinction, and 75% of our primate species are in severe population decline. (Source)
  • 640,000 tonnes of fishing nets are left in the seas and oceans each year endangering marine life such as whales, dolphins and turtles. (Source)
  • Since the dawn of civilisation, humanity has caused the loss of 83% of all wild mammals (Source)
  • In the last 50 years alone, the populations of all mammals, birds, reptiles and fish have fallen by an average of 60% (Source)
  • More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered. (Source)
  • 40% of the world’s bird species are in decline, and 1 in 8 is threatened with global extinction (Source)
  • Bees have been suffering from 30% hive losses in the last 10 years and one in four wild bee species in the US is at risk of extinction (Source)
  • Bornean orangutan numbers have been more than halved in the past 60 years, mainly due to humans encroaching on its habitat due to palm oil plantations (Source)

Good news 

  • Mountain gorillas were expected to be extinct by the millennium, but today the total number in the wild tops 1,000 because of conservation efforts (Source)
  • Hong Kong, a major market for elephant ivory will ban sales  by the end of 2021. (Source)
  • Conservation efforts have helped increase the number of monarch butterflies by 144% that migrate from Canada and the US to Mexico to hibernate. (Source)
  • After 100 years a species of giant tortoise believed to have been extinct has been discovered on the Galapagos this year. (Source)
  • Nepal’s wild tiger population nearly doubled in the last decade (Source

The Most Surprising Facts About Wildlife