Scientists have revealed that Earth could be entering its sixth mass extinction leading to the extinction of three-quarters of animal species in the coming years—and the humans are causing this shift.
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences revealed that it isn’t even the full picture of the “biological annihilation” people are inflicting on the natural world. Gerardo Ceballos, an ecology professor at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and his co-authors, have claim the about-to-extinct population could be suffering in unseen ways and it is humanity at stake in the end.
Ceballos and his team’s key findings report that around one-third of 27,600 land-based mammal, bird, amphibian and reptile species are dwindling in numbers and territorial range. They titled it as “extremely high degree of population decay.” The team also studied a group of 177 mammal species and found they lost around 30% of their territory between 1990 and 2015, and more than 40% of the species suffered massive population loss.
Earth’s sixth mass extinction is going to be the most severe of all the mass extinctions. Anthony Barnosky, executive director of the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve at Stanford University, said that the study carried out by Ceballos and his team is the most comprehensive study he has seen. The fact that even common species of animals are reducing in number is a great threat to the entire ecosystem and subsequently, humans.
The effects can even be seen closer to home as Stuart Pimm, Chair of Conservation Ecology at Duke University in North Carolina, said that when he looks out of the window from his office, he sees a forest which no longer has panthers, wolves, or black bears wandering around because humans have eliminated them from many areas.
Pimm believes that Ceballos’ paper identified the problem and now we can work on a solution. He said that there are both well-known and unknown species that are on the verge of extinction. For example, the African elephant’s current population of 400,000 seems like a lot, but it is still less than the one million that existed in the last century.
Even though the window is short, we all still have time to take action to prevent this biological annihilation.