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© WWF

Wildlife

We share our planet with millions of species of plants and animals - a wondrous variety of wildlife that enriches our lives in so many ways.
This complex web of life provides the natural systems we depend on – giving us essentials like water, clean air, fertile soils and a stable climate. It gives us food, medicines and materials, and supports millions of jobs. It also inspires people around the world – making our lives richer in all sorts of ways. 

But our planet’s wildlife is in crisis – numbers have fallen by more than half since 1970, and species are going extinct at an alarming rate.

We need to reverse this loss of nature and create a future where wildlife and people thrive again.

Our planet’s wildlife is in crisis – numbers have fallen by more than half since 1970, and species are going extinct at an alarming rate.

© Sanskar Khedekar

Disappearing species

Wildlife is disappearing on every continent, in every ocean, on land and underwater. And its fate is in the hands of just one species: Homo sapiens.
Human actions threaten wildlife in two main ways: by destroying and damaging the places where species live, and by using them in ways that are unsustainable.  

Vast areas of natural habitat continue to be lost to agriculture, urban sprawl, mining and infrastructure, or are suffering from the effects of pollution, introduced species that often out-compete native wildlife, and, increasingly, climate change.

Meanwhile, many species are declining because of unsustainable levels of hunting, fishing and harvesting. Others are being driven toward extinction to support the international wildlife trade, or killed when they come into direct conflict with humans and livestock.

Human actions threaten wildlife in two main ways: by destroying and damaging the places where species live, and by using them in ways that are unsustainable

What WWF is doing

We want to see wildlife thriving. We work with many partners to achieve this – seeking to protect plant and animal species by tackling the root causes of the many serious threats.
From the poles to the tropics, we’re working to preserve vital habitats. By 2030, we want to see 30% of the world’s surface managed in a way that takes account of wildlife through protected areas like national parks or community-run conservation areas. We’re working with government agencies and local people to increase the coverage of protected areas, strengthen the way they’re managed, and improve connections so wildlife can move freely between them.

At the same time, we’re tackling illegal trade and over-exploitation by strengthening regulations and making sure they’re properly enforced. We are also influencing the markets and consumer choices that drive demand for wildlife products.

Changing direction

The efforts of WWF and others have already helped achieve some big successes for wildlife.
Tiger numbers are increasing for the first time in over a century, the Irrawaddy dolphin population is rising after decades of decline, and more and more countries in Asia are banning sales of elephant ivory.

People have benefited too. Protecting forests and other crucial habitats helps conserve the natural living resources that many communities depend on.  Sensitively managed eco-tourism is also bringing much needed income to many developing countries.

These are positive signs and are helping to put us on the right path to a brighter future for people and nature. But we need to do much more to halt and reverse the decline in the world’s wildlife. Ultimately, our own well-being and survival depend upon it.

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