By Jackie Bastianon
According the Living Planet Report recently released by the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), wildlife across Canada is disappearing at alarming rates.
In Central Canada, while some species are holding their own, amphibians and reptiles in Ontario and Quebec are struggling. Habitat loss, road mortality and pollution are causing these populations to decline.
According to the report, populations of snakes, turtles, frogs and salamanders in these two provinces have declined 16 per cent. The study says this data is subject to variance based on a limited sample size.
Population declines are not limited to this region or these categories.
Across Canada, the report said, from 1970 to 2014, 451 of 903 monitored wildlife species in Canada declined. This includes mammals, fish, birds, amphibians and reptiles. Of the other half, 407 species showed increases in abundance and 45 species were stable.
For the half of monitored species with declining trends, the Living Planet Index shows, on average, a decline of 83 per cent, from 1970 to 2014.
Declines are happening around the world. Between 1970 and 2014 more than 60 per cent of the world’s wildlife populations have declined.
According to Marco Lambertini, director general at WWF, this report “is a grim reminder and perhaps the ultimate indicator of the pressure we exert on the planet.”
The report puts forward several solutions, including expanding Canada’s protected areas to allow more habitat for animals, and an increase in research on the impact and response to climate change.
It also calls for individuals to come together to take collective action to reverse this decline.
“As ecosystems are put under increasing pressure, and as the bad news mounts, individuals can feel powerless to make a difference,” the report states. “That doesn’t have to be the case.”