New report shows global wildlife populations have declined by 60% in forty years 

Male and Female Pronghorn
Photo by Mary Katherine Ray

The World Wildlife Fund recently released their Living Planet Index report, which came to the alarming conclusion that the average abundance of vertebrate species across the globe declined by 60% percent between 1970 and 2014. This figure is based on data collected on a sample of vertebrate species (about 10% of total extant vertebrates on the planet today) and represents mammals, birds, amphibians, fish, and reptiles on every continent. The reason for this rapid decline? In short: human over-consumption and habitat fragmentation.

Border wall in Santa Teresa, NM
The report cited habitat fragmentation as one of the main drivers of wildlife loss. SWEC is particularly concerned about the habitat fragmentation caused by border barriers like this one.

The Rio Grande is featured in the report as an example of extreme water loss over time, and the loss of habitat for freshwater vertebrates along with it. According to this report, freshwater fish have had the highest extinction rate worldwide among vertebrates in the 20th century. 

The report pushes for global action on this issue, stating, “We need to radically escalate the political relevance of nature and galvanize a cohesive movement across state and non-state actors to drive change, to ensure that public and private decision-makers understand that business as usual is not an option.”

While the loss of wildlife is happening on a global scale, here at SWEC we work daily to protect and preserve wildlife that call the Southwest home. We work to ensure the recovery of Mexican Grey Wolves, endwildlife killing contests, stop the border wall, protect Otero Mesa and restore the Rio Grande. You can support our work by clicking on the "Donate" button below.