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Wildlife Abundance

By how much has the global abundance of wildlife declined since 1970?

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Based on a study from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), 60 Minutes recently reported that the abundance of global wildlife has declined by more than 50% since 1970. However, scholars in academic journals have documented that the WWF study "does not measure abundance," even though the WWF claims that it does and receives "high media coverage" that makes the "common mistake of interpreting" the study "as measuring abundance loss." In contrast, a study published in 2022 by the journal Nature found that the WWF's findings are "driven by less than 3% of vertebrate populations," and "no global trend remained across typical populations." Likewise, a study published in 2019 by the journal Ecology Letters analyzed the world's largest database of long-term species abundances and found, "Most populations (85%) did not show significant trends in abundance, and those that did were balanced between winners (8%) and losers (7%)."

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