As Human Population Doubled, Vertebrates Declined by 30 Percent
October 27, 2010
(ChattahBox Science News) – Ripping down natural land to build new structures doesn’t just force animals to find new homes – it is driving many species toward extinction. According to a new Zoological Society of London study, 50 species of vertebrates grow more endangered each year, with some at risk of dying off forever, the UK Telegraph reports.Although some species considered “exotic,” such as pandas and tigers, are dropping to dangerously low numbers, the population decline has also affected animals once considered common, such as sparrows and harvest mice, says the report, which was originally published in the journal Science.
Of the vertebrates at risk, amphibians are most in danger due to a fatal fungus affecting the group, while 25 percent of mammals and 13 percent of birds are threatened. As the overall human population has doubled over the past 30 years, vertebrate populations have dropped by 30 percent, the Telegraph notes.
Conservation programs have helped the animals face more promising fates, the study found, indicating that 20 percent more species could have died off without charity or government intervention, the Telegraph reports.