Why are species in decline?
Recent scientific analyses estimate the current rate of extinction to be around 1,000 times higher than the natural background rate (Pimm et al., 2014), a reality which sees species go extinct every day. Of the 93,579 species presently assessed by the IUCN Red List, which acts as a barometer for life on Earth, 27 per cent are adjudged to be threatened with extinction (IUCN Red List, 2018): more than one fifth of those are Critically Endangered species. Furthermore, in addition to species extinction, species abundance has been reduced dramatically in the last century. The Living Planet Index (WWF, 2016) estimates the loss of vertebrate abundance between 1970 – 2012 to be around 58 per cent, based on 14,152 populations of 3,176 species monitored. These trends are as dramatic as they are harrowing, and such is the scale of biodiversity loss that scientists have begun to describe the current species extinction as the sixth mass extinction event