Baseless claim from WWF: Half of global wildlife lost, says new WWF report

from the World Wildlife Fund | World Wildlife Fund issues 10th edition of ‘The Living Planet Report,’ a science-based assessment of the planet’s health

Washington, DC – Monday, September 29: Between 1970 and 2010 populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish around the globe dropped 52 percent, says the 2014 Living Planet Report released today by World Wildlife Fund (WWF). This biodiversity loss occurs disproportionately in low-income countries—and correlates with the increasing resource use of high-income countries.

In addition to the precipitous decline in wildlife populations the report’s data point to other warning signs about the overall health of the planet. The amount of carbon in our atmosphere has risen to levels not seen in more than a million years, triggering climate change that is already destabilizing ecosystems. High concentrations of reactive nitrogen are degrading lands, rivers and oceans. Stress on already scarce water supplies is increasing. And more than 60 percent of the essential “services” provided by nature, from our forests to our seas, are in decline.

african-elephant

An African Forest elephant (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) enters bai whilst a group of Bongo antelope (Tragelaphus euryceros) leave, Dzanga Bai, Dzanga-Ndoki National Park, Central African Republic. Credit: © naturepl.com / Bruce Davidson / WWF-Canon

“We’re gradually destroying our planet’s ability to support our way of life,” said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF. “But we already have the knowledge and tools to avoid the worst predictions. We all live on a finite planet and its time we started acting within those limits.”

The Living Planet Report, WWF’s biennial flagship publication, measures trends in three major areas:

  • populations of more than ten thousand vertebrate species;
  • human ecological footprint, a measure of consumption of goods, greenhouse gas emissions; and
  • existing biocapacity, the amount of natural resources for producing food, freshwater, and sequestering carbon.

“There is a lot of data in this report and it can seem very overwhelming and complex,” said Jon Hoekstra, chief scientist at WWF. “What’s not complicated are the clear trends we’re seeing — 39 percent of terrestrial wildlife gone, 39 percent of marine wildlife gone, 76 percent of freshwater wildlife gone – all in the past 40 years.”

The report says that the majority of high-income countries are increasingly consuming more per person than the planet can accommodate; maintaining per capita ecological footprints greater than the amount of biocapacity available per person. People in middle- and low-income countries have seen little increase in their per capita footprints over the same time period.

While high-income countries show a 10 percent increase in biodiversity, the rest of the world is seeing dramatic declines. Middle-income countries show 18 percent declines, and low-income countries show 58 percent declines. Latin America shows the biggest decline in biodiversity, with species populations falling by 83 percent.

“High-income countries use five times the ecological resources of low-income countries, but low income countries are suffering the greatest ecosystem losses,” said Keya Chatterjee, WWF’s senior director of footprint. “In effect, wealthy nations are outsourcing resource depletion.”

The report underscores that the declining trends are not inevitable. To achieve globally sustainable development, each country’s per capita ecological footprint must be less than the per capita biocapacity available on the planet, while maintaining a decent standard of living.

At the conclusion of the report, WWF recommends the following actions:

  1. Accelerate shift to smarter food and energy production
  2. Reduce ecological footprint through responsible consumption at the personal, corporate and government levels
  3. Value natural capital as a cornerstone of policy and development decisions
###

Why is this a baseless claim? Read this: Where Are The Corpses?
[UPDATE by Willis Eschenbach] Reading the Living Planet Report, I came across this interesting chart …
declining and increasing speciesFor birds, fishes , reptiles and amphibians, and mammals, half or slightly more are increasing, a bit less than half are decreasing, and a thin sliver are unchanging.
Setting aside the obvious problems with the counting and the categorization, I fear I don’t find that result either surprising or alarming. Half increasing, half decreasing … and?
w.
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Bobl

Name them?

johnmarshall

Well there is Harry the hippo, Edith the elephant, Andy the ant————————–
You’re correct Bobl, what a stupid report that is obviously model based.

Bobl

This is just the same propaganda as the extinction curve that’s supposed to show that extinctions are occuring at some phenominal rate, when scientists can’t name more than a handful of them in the last century. The challenge goes out, what species, and what numbers! At the risk of making light of a serious disease, I’d wager that there are a few more ebola viruses on the planet just now, can probably say the same about locusts, cockroaches, pigeons, rabbits, mice, rats, kangaroos, and malaria since ddt was banned. All of these regularly in plague proportions. Then of course there are domestic animals like cows, goats and sheep, cats and dogs not to mention farmed fish and crustacean species, that have easilly increased in density. There is no way known that this rubbish could possibly be substantiated in any way.
They simply ignore species they dont like and only count the ones theyndo, it’s cherry picking as usual, intellectually dishonest.

Edohiguma

I ate Bambi yesterday.

Travis Casey

OMG! Everyone at Waffle House thinks I’m a nut for laugh so hard at your comment. 🙂

Bobl

Clearly katie the canetoad isn’t on WWFs list either, nor spike the crown of thorns starfish or louie the fly. At any point as many species are in advance as decline, this is the way of the world – evolution in action. If we are so bad for the planet, how come mice, cockroaches and houseflies who live in such close proximity, and which we attack mercilessly aren’t the first to go.

Here are 102 to for you, offhand, using easily available records. There are many more. I’ll start with a list of 12 that have gone extinct in just the last few years.
Former distribution :: Estimated extinction date :: Common names :: Scientific name
Pinta Island < 2012 Pinta island tortoise Chelonoidis (Nigra abingdonii)
China < 2006 Yangtze River dolphin (Lipotes vexillifer)
Cameroon < 2011 Western Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis longipes)
Caribbean < 2008 Caribbean Monk Seal (Monachus tropicalis)
West Africa < 1994 Canarian Oystercatcher (Haematopus meadewaldoi)
United States < 1994 Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis)
Pacific islands < 2004 Mariana Mallard (Anas oustaleti)
United States < 1987 Dusky Seaside Sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus nigrescens)
Java < 1994 Javan Tiger (Panthera tigris sondaica)
Spain < 2000 Pyrenean Ibex (Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica)
Madagascar < 2010 Alaotra Grebe (Tachybaptus rufolavatus)
Hawaii < 2004 Black-faced Honeycreeper (Melamprosops phaeosoma)
Fishes believed to have become extinct since 1970 (Source: CREO, 2001)
Austria, Germany, Switzerland <1997? tiefseesaibling Salvelinus profundus
Brazil <1996 Hyphessobrycon parvellus
Brazil <1996? Phalloptychus eigenmanni
Cameroon 1981 Banff longnose dace Rhinichthys cataractae
Canada, United States >1970 blue pike Stizostedion vitreum
Canada, United States >1975 longjaw ciscoe Coregonus alpenae
China <1988? Sinocyclocheilus grahami
China <1988? Liobagrus nigricauda
China <1988? Pseudobagrus medianalis
China <1988? Silurus mento
China <1999 Sphaerophysa dianchiensis
China <1999 Acheilognathus elongatus
China <1999? Liobagrus kingi
Croatia 1977 Ladakh snowtrout Gymnocypris biswasi
Indonesia <1999? Popta's buntingi Xenopoecilus poptae
Indonesia 1983 duck-billed buntingi Adrianichthys kruyti
Indonesia >1985 Poso bungu Weberogobius amadi
Israel 1978 Labrochromis mylergates
Kenya, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda >1978 Prognathochromis gilberti
Kenya, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda >1978 Prognathochromis nanoserranus
Kenya, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda >1982 Astatotilapia megalops
Kenya, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda >1982 Gaurochromis obtusidens
Kenya, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda >1982 Harpagochromis michaeli
Kenya, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda >1982 Labrochromis teegelaari
Kenya, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda >1982 Lipochromis microdon
Kenya, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda >1982 Prognathochromis argenteus
Kenya, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda >1982 Prognathochromis dentex
Kenya, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda >1982 Prognathochromis longirostris
Kenya, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda >1982 Prognathochromis macrognathus
Kenya, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda >1982 Prognathochromis xenostoma
Kenya, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda >1982 Psammochromis cassius
Kenya, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda >1991 Hoplotilapia retrodens
Kenya, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda >1996 Harpagochromis cavifrons
Madagascar <1999 Pantanodon madagascariensis
Madagascar <1999 Teramulus waterloti
Mexico <1990 graceful priapella Priapella bonita
Mexico <1992 alien splitfin Chapalichthys peraticus
Mexico 1984 cachorrito del la Presa Cyprinodon inmemoriam
Mexico >1988 pupfish Cyprinodon ceciliae
Mexico >1992 Salado shiner Notropis saladonis
Mexico, United States >1975 Phantom shiner Notropis orca
Romania <1994 Gasterosteus crenobiontus
Singapore 1972 Kilch Coregonus gutturosus
China >1977 Cyprinus yilongensis
Taiwan, Province Of China 1970 Clear Lake Spliitail Pogonichthys ciscoides
United States >1970 Tecopa pupfish Cyprinodon nevadensis
United States >1970 Monkey Spring pupfish Cyprinodon sp.
United States >1974 Maryland darter Etheostoma sellare
United States >1980 scioto madtom Noturus trautmani
United States >1983 San Marcos gambusia Gambusia georgei
Uzbekistan 1977 dwarf sturgeon Pseudoscaphirhynchus hermanni
Mammals believed to have become extinct since 1970 (Source: CREO, 2001)
Australia > 1970 Lesser stick-nest rat Leporillus apicalis
Australia > 1972 Toolache wallaby Macropus greyi
Mexico > 1991 Omilteme cottontail Sylvilagus insonus
Philippines > 1970s naked-backed fruit bat; Philippine bare-backed fruit bat; Dobson’s fruit bat Dobsonia chapmani
Birds believed to have become extinct since 1970 (Source: Birdlife International 2000)
Colombia 1977 Colombian grebe Podiceps andinus
Guatemala 1986 Atitn grebe Podilymbus gigas
Fiji 1973 Bar-winged rail Nesoclopeus poecilopterus
New Zealand 1972 Bush wren Xenicus longipes
Kaua’i, Hawai’i 1987 Kaua’i oo Moho braccatus
Guam 1983 Guam flycatcher Myiagra freycineti
Aldabra (Seychelles) 1983 Aldabra bush-warbler Nesillas aldabrana
I’m not sure which was sadder: writing this list, or having to explain it here. I am in awe.

Juice

These are extinctions. Not what the article was talking about.

Randy

Yep, now you have to list more then 100 times this to cover 1 year of these claims. No need to try, such a list doesnt exist in reality. This claim is model based not reality based.

Randy

or rather to get to the 10k mark of 10-100k species some sources claim go extinct per year.

Newly Retired Engineer

Evan,
Thank you for this list. I do, however, have one concern. You state “[F]ish believed to have become extinct …”, “[M]ammals believed to have become extinct …”, and “[B]irds believed to have become extinct …”. “Believed”, or known, to have become extinct? There is a world of difference.

Jimbo

I doubt if any of the ones on your list is on the WWF report. Your list of extinctions is normal Evan. Here is the reality. But first here are species that are ‘new to nature’.
http://www.theguardian.com/science/series/new-to-nature

Abstract
Biological extinction in earth history
Virtually all plant and animal species that have ever lived on the earth are extinct. For this reason alone, extinction must play an important role in the evolution of life. The five largest mass extinctions of the past 600 million years are of greatest interest, but there is also a spectrum of smaller events, many of which indicate biological systems in profound stress. Extinction may be episodic at all scales, with relatively long periods of stability alternating with short-lived extinction events. Most extinction episodes are biologically selective, and further analysis of the victims and survivors offers the greatest chance of deducing the proximal causes of extinction. A drop in sea level and climatic change are most frequently invoked to explain mass extinctions, but new theories of collisions with extraterrestrial bodies are gaining favor. Extinction may be constructive in a Darwinian sense or it may only perturb the system by eliminating those organisms that happen to be susceptible to geologically rare stresses.
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/231/4745/1528.short

Here is an Essay in Nature

Concept Extinction: past and present
The fossil record, together with modern data, can provide a deeper understanding of biological extinction and its consequences.
Extinction is a fundamental part of nature — more than 99% of all species that ever lived are now extinct. Whereas the loss of ‘redundant’ species may be barely perceptible, more extensive losses of whole populations, groups of related species (clades) or those that share particular morphologies (for example, large body sizes) or functional attributes such as feeding mechanisms, can have profound effects, leading to the collapse of entire ecosystems and the extermination of great evolutionary dynasties.
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v427/n6975/full/427589a.html

Jimbo

Evan,
I would not be surprised if your list had a few Lazarus Taxon (species once thought to be extinct but rediscovered). It took 56 million years of extinction, then coelacanths came back.
Here is a bat that was thought extinct and discovered 120 years later!!!
http://www.uq.edu.au/news/article/2014/06/extinct%E2%80%99-bat-rediscovered-after-120-years-wilderness
List of rediscovered species
https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/wild-things/year-rediscovered-species

Don E

Adding to Jimbo’s point, there is a theory, with some evidence to back it up, that the mass extinctions large and small were related to the rise and fall of oxygen levels.

Every one of those is “believed to be extinct”. Which isn’t the same thing as being extinct. From the “Mother Nature Network”,
Lazarus species: 13 ‘extinct’ animals found alive http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/photos/lazarus-species-13-extinct-animals-found-alive/rediscovered
Then there’s Coelacanth: The discovery of a species still living, when they were believed to have gone extinct 66 million years previously, makes the coelacanth the best-known example of a Lazarus taxon…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coelacanth
But bad news always sells…

Cyrus P Stell

You didn’t go to the follow-on article. In the follow-on essay by Willis, he found more than you did, by looking only for birds and mammals. But when he narrowed it down to only continental extinctions (as opposed to an island, where the species likely differentiated solely because of its isolation) it was less than two dozen. None of those were listed as exclusively forest animals, and none went extinct due to habitat loss alone. This article states that, solely do to habitat loss by clear-cutting forests, dozens of species a year have gone/are going extinct. Factually unsupported.

tty

While there is certainly a lot of extinction going on You don’t help things by providing incorrect information. For example
” I’ll start with a list of 12 that have gone extinct in just the last few years.
Former distribution :: Estimated extinction date :: Common names :: Scientific name
Pinta Island < 2012 Pinta island tortoise Chelonoidis (Nigra abingdonii)
Not a species
China < 2006 Yangtze River dolphin (Lipotes vexillifer)
Correct
Cameroon < 2011 Western Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis longipes)
Not a species
Caribbean < 2008 Caribbean Monk Seal (Monachus tropicalis)
Last seen in 1952
West Africa < 1994 Canarian Oystercatcher (Haematopus meadewaldoi)
Last seen in 1913
United States < 1994 Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis)
Last seen in the forties
Pacific islands < 2004 Mariana Mallard (Anas oustaleti)
Not a species
United States < 1987 Dusky Seaside Sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus nigrescens)
Not a species
Java < 1994 Javan Tiger (Panthera tigris sondaica)
Not a species
Spain < 2000 Pyrenean Ibex (Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica)
Not a species
Madagascar < 2010 Alaotra Grebe (Tachybaptus rufolavatus)
Correct
Hawaii < 2004 Black-faced Honeycreeper (Melamprosops phaeosoma)
Correct
Three out of twelve is not very good. By the way, not in any of the cases above is there as much as a hint that climate change had any influence.

ConTrari

How many new species are discovered every year?

Mike

“..Australia > 1970 Lesser stick-nest rat Leporillus apicalis..”
I’m just wondering how the ‘excess consumption’ of rich folk in US and EU caused this 1970 extinction of a rat species we will all so desperately miss in Australia. Ditto many if not most of the other ‘extinctions’. Also, historically, 90%+ of species went extinct long before mankind was around. Maybe they went extinct in ‘anticipation’ of mankind’s arrival.
I see also the list is padded with the same species type over and over and over in some cases.

mpainter

The ivory billed woodpecker is extant. I suspect the reliability of your list of extinctions.

mpainter

The happy news is that the ivory billed woodpecker is extant. I suspect that other species on your list will prove to be so.

stuartlarge

How many of those extinctions weredue to climate change, none I suspect, morer like habitat change

Gaylon

Evan, what is your source for the first 12? Not on CERO.

DaveW

Just to add on to what tty noted, I checked the North American fish (where the data should be good) from Evan’s list and of the 7 ‘species’ listed, 5 are subspecies or variants of surviving species, and the two given species status were extremely rare to begin with, i.e. limited to a single riffle in one creek or a single spring, and their decline has nothing to do with atmospheric carbon or US energy use.
“Canada, United States >1970 blue pike Stizostedion vitreum” [this is the species name of the Walleye – alive and well in many places, so presumably you mean the glaucus blue variant whose populations crashed in the 1950s. Not a species and arguably not a true subspecies either, since ‘blue pike’ continue to be captured.]
“Canada, United States >1975 longjaw ciscoe Coregonus alpine” [not a separate species but variant of Coregonus zenithicus, widely distributed in a couple of dozen lakes; heavy fishing selected against the long jaw, but the sea lamprey is thought to have finished it off]
and these fish endemic to single creeks or springs:
“United States >1970 Tecopa pupfish Cyprinodon nevadensis” [not a species, spp. calidae; hybrids with another subspecies persist – and at least 5 other subspecies are around]
“United States >1970 Monkey Spring pupfish Cyprinodon sp.” [no species name]
“United States >1974 Maryland darter Etheostoma” sell are [possibly extinct, but it has come back before and was still considered Endangered last I saw]
“United States >1980 scioto madtom Noturus trautmani” [probably extinct, but only seen once in 1957, when 18 individuals from one riffle were collected; also the 29 species in this genus are notoriously difficult to separate, so it may be persisting, but unrecognised or may not be a good species]
“United States >1983 San Marcos gambusia Gambusia georgei” [not seen since 1983, possibly extinct, but unknown]
And in addition to the Ivory Billed Woodpecker that tty noted:
“Hawaii 1970 Lesser stick-nest rat Leporillus apicalis” [possible Lazarus species – ‘Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct)’ and severe decline was in the early 1900’s – nothing to do with carbon or use of energy]
“Australia > 1972 Toolache wallaby Macropus greyi” [hunting, foxes and scientists finished off this species, again in the early 1900’s long before atmospheric carbon or intensive use of hydrocarbons]
So, this list appears to be a beat-up of species that are not extinct (although a distinctive population may be) or probable extinctions of species with restricted distributions that have nothing to do with atmospheric carbon, Western energy use, or any other fact of modern life.
Evan, one sad thing is you don’t seem to know what a species is and seem ignorant of the well known tendency for populations on islands or island-like habitats (e.g. streams, springs, mountain tops) to die out, with or without modern Western energy consumption patterns (e.g. mass extinctions of Hawaiian and New Zealand birds after colonisation by Polynesians). Rats, pigs, cats, goats, disease and competitors are the primary problems on islands, and these pests were introduced starting several centuries ago. Habitat conservation is the key to protecting pupfish and the like. Wasting angst, time and money on climate change when we could be doing more to save some threatened species is an even sadder thing.

ozspeaksup

good heavens..we Aussies only down for TWO mammals this time?
though we were supposed to be THE single worst offenders anywhere anytime?
of course no species ever went extinct for any other reason than “man done it” did they?
Id seriously be amazed that the rats gone for good
cats are a problem admittedly but cats dont seem to manage to remove total rat pops in any habited areas do they..
having seen some “researchers” hunting for some species and causing much more destruction in doing so, I reckon the rats n wallaby buggered off when they see em coming..for their own safety:-)

pamelala95

Thank you for providing a reasonable example to this snarky crowd Evan.They clearly prefer to stick their heads in the sand and laugh about such an important report which has been quoted widely and made thinking people take pause. I just love the insights in comments like “I ate Bambi this morning,” that’s just genius. “Where are the corpses” is the response to a scientific report with serious implications? That sort of thinking is why we are in the crap-storm this planet is in.
If mammals are “believed to have become extinct,” that means no samples can be found, but since extinction isn’t noted by marker, it has to be noted as such until a certain amount of time passes. Even if these species have a small sample of unseen members, the diversity of the gene pool is so low that the species will be in critical danger. Going from an identified species to one that can’t be found is dire enough in itself.
Jimbo, you quote left and right, but you miss the point that these extinctions have happened since 1972. Former species extinctions happened over long periods of time, and were the result of habitat changes or plague, etc.
At any rate, dismissing it all out of hand is so typical of the snark-sector. Just continue “eating Bambi for breakfast,” collecting your trophies, destroying habitats and laughing about those who take the disappearance of 52% or even 10% of the species within 40 years a little more seriously.

Pamelala95,
This chart from Willis shows that on balance, there is no net decline in populations since the 1970’s:
http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/declining-and-increasing-species1.png?w=560

milodonharlani

mpainter
September 30, 2014 at 2:52 pm
Maybe you have news of a recent ivory-billed woodpecker sighting that I’ve missed. Last I read or heard, none has been found despite decades of searching since the last confirmed sighting. The closely related imperial woodpecker of Mexico is also probably extinct, along possibly with the Cuban subspecies of the ivory-billed.
However Evan is wrong that the ivory-billed woodpecker is definitely extinct. Its assessment as such by the IUCN in 1994 was subsequently changed to “critically endangered”, since there is still a chance that it’s extant. I’d like to think so, but don’t presently hold out much hope for the big woodpecker.

johnmarshall

How many animals were there in1970??
Come on WWF answer the bloody question.

M Courtney

Good question.
It raises a question about the report – which “Where are the corpses?” does not do.
The WWF is talking about numbers of animals in the wild – not numbers of species.
Fishing and poaching have been significant over the last 40 years.

Gunga Din

And sometimes the critters have even been known to eat each other!

Just an engineer

Given the WWF track record, I wouldn’t even trust the page numbers in that report.

milodonharlani

It is preposterous to assert that deer populations are declining. They’re exploding. Especially white tails. Here in Eastern Oregon white tails used to be rare. Now they’re challenging the mule deer, which are themselves also burgeoning, despite restrictions on killing coyotes & on hunting cougars.
Many people, including my cousin, make a good living collecting shed antlers.

Bromley

Man, this isn’t aimed directly at you but damn, did you guys actually read the article and more importantly, are you guys actually thinking about what you claim to believe. I hope that doesn’t offend, I’m just really surprised by a lot of these opinions, anyway, I thought I’d clear up why the chart that dbstealey kindly reposted is actually really really really bad.
As far as we understand ecosystems, they are fairly stable things, everything has its place and as the ecosystem gradually changes its populations and niches change with it. This happens naturally and helps spur the success of new evolutionary traits (it encourages evolution).
Anyway, what that means is, there should be a lot more blue on that chart. Evolution for most species takes a really long time and having half of the species in decline over a 40 year span is actually really concerning, it means we are gonna lose diversity before different niches can be filled by different species. Ugh, which means its probably gonna be a world of crows, ravens, geese, bear, raccoons and feral cats where I live in 40 years… largely because most people just don’t seem to understand evolution at all.
I worry for my kids because I don’t know what a less diverse ecosystem is going to do to the planet, I hope it doesn’t negatively impact them. I’m sure the earth will eventually diversify again but it’ll be a million years after mankind goes extinct because the ape who invented the wheel just doesn’t care about or perhaps understand the long term ramifications of his actions.
http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/declining-and-increasing-species1.png?w=560

Bromley,
As Willis says: Where are the bodies?
Unless you can show us the corpses of the birds and animals going extinct, this scare looks pretty much like the Polar bear scare. No bodies, and the population is rising.
We need evidence. So far, there is precious little.

markl

“which means its probably gonna be a world of crows, ravens, geese, bear, raccoons and feral cats where I live in 40 years… largely because most people just don’t seem to understand evolution at all.” Hopefully that’s true rather than people feeling they are god like and determine which species stay, and which go. If every species continued without impediments the world would be “unsustainable” (puke) rather quickly.

Willis Eschenbach

Bromley, you rail against the chart you reposted, and ask “did you guys actually read the article?”. Then you say there should be lots more blue in the chart.
Well, perhaps so … but the detail you seem to have missed is that THE CHART IS FROM THE REPORT THE ARTICLE IS DISCUSSING.
So I can only ask … did you actually read the report, or did you just depend on the press release quoted in the head post?
w.

matayaya

Using a little anecdotal evidence, I lived on Hispaniola (Dominican Republic/Haiti) for two years. Just ride around or fly over Haiti and it is mostly man made desert. The DR is a scrubbier green largely devoid of wildlife. When the Indians had it, it was a lush tropical isle full of wildlife. The WWF number of only 40% loss would be seriously overcounting wildlife on Hispaniola. There are many other places on the globe like Hispaniola driving the WWF estimate.

Bromley

Hey dbstealey, I actually have a fairly plausible theory for that conundrum. Okay, this might seem a little off topic but I think you’ll see what I’m getting at.
Now, I don’t know where you live but where I live the deer population is fairly large, probably not as big as when I was younger but still lots around. So, roughly half of the deer will be males, who will shed their antlers sometime this winter. Every year, like clockwork, the antlers will shed, year after year.
You’d think the forests and valleys would be full of antlers, wouldn’t you? Even if you only had 500 male deer in an area, that’s 1000 antlers in one year at 10,000! over a ten year span and anyone who has a buck on their wall knows that antlers easily last 50 years let alone 10… so where are all the antlers?
Bugs and vermin (things like rats and mice) actually consume them and quite quickly too, isn’t that crazy? And I guarantee you we have more than 500 male deer around here but I’ve probably only found 5 or 6 shed antlers in the summer in my lifetime and I spend a lot of time in the bush. That’s because the bugs and rats have already turned them into dust by the time summer roles around. If I had to make an educated guess as to where the bodies you guys are looking for have gone, I’m guessing that they’ve already been consumed by bacteria, bugs and other tiny pests.

Bromley

Hello Willis, settle down haha no need for caps lock, I think you were confused when you read my comments. My point was, if the world was healthy, the animal populations would be much more stable (that means there would be a lot more blue on the chart and a lot less green and purple). The green and purple being mirror images is typical of any ecosystem, if something is declining then something else is often increasing, nothing strange or concerning about that. What is concerning, is that the chart is mostly green and purple instead of mostly blue… that’s my point. I was just trying to explain why this graph is actually reflective of an increasingly unhealthy and unstable world. That is to say, this graph totally supports the argument being presented by wwf.

Bromley,
At least your argument makes some sense, unlike matayaya’s. You say:
You’d think the forests and valleys would be full of antlers, wouldn’t you?
No, I wouldn’t. Take the half dozen antlers that you found and put one each day out somewhere where people go. I think by the next day that set of antlers will be gone. The next day put out another set, etc.
People collect antlers. They are worth money to knifemakers and others. They don’t decompose quickly, and if they were worthless they would be all over the place. They’re not. So you need a better argument than that.
The WWF’s claim that species are being exterminated is based on their assertion, and not much more. They are sounding another false alarm. If that is wrong, then where are all the bodies?

Bromley

Hey Dbstealey,
So, You’re claiming that there are so few deer that people are literally picking up all of the antlers before they can litter the forest floor? I agree that the deer population is declining but I don’t think its that small yet. 🙂
I assure you, this is true, mice, squirrels, rats, etc. anything with constantly growing teeth, will chew bones and antlers to dust. You can look it up, I’m not the only person who knows this.
Regarding you claims about the wwf, honestly, I don’t really follow them but this latest article caught my attention. I’m not sure you fully understood what they’re claiming on this occasion. As I understand it, its primarily two claims
-a reduction in the total number of animals
-a reduction in the biodiversity
I think the first claim is closely linked to human consumption, we eat a lot and in poor countries, its a lot cheaper to poach than it is to buy meat so they’ve kinda ravaged their native land. The numbers gathered by the wwf reflect this.
The second claim is probably more closely linked to loss of territory for animals. We take over more and more land creating smaller and smaller pockets of animals which creates unstable ecosystems which results in some animals over consuming other animals and creates this graph that I find extremely concerning, meanwhile, the author of this blogpost thought it was a good sign. It’s not, it’s actually a very bad sign. Which, I remind you, is all that I ever wanted to explain here.
http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/declining-and-increasing-species1.png?w=840
So, at least in this article, the wwf isn’t claiming mass extermination, they’re claiming A) people are eating wildlife at an unsustainable rate and B) due to the loss or toxification of habitat by humans, some animals are rapidly choking out other animals which is rapidly reducing the world’s biodiversity (and this last part wasn’t directly stated in the article but its clear in their numbers).
As far as how they got their numbers, I believe they’ve been tracking a variety of animal populations since the 1970s and they’ve simply noticed a reduction in total numbers and an increase in instability. I don’t really understand why you’re so reluctant to believe their numbers.
I don’t think its a conspiracy, I mean, we all indirectly benefit from having healthy forests, lakes, rivers, oceans, etc. and I think we can agree that pollution and population are clearly trending in the wrong way for us to be able to enjoy these things in the distant future.
Honestly, I can appreciate your skepticism, I’m quite the skeptic myself but read the article again without bias and I think you’ll realize, at least on this occasion, the wwf is merely trying to bring light to a disturbing global trend.

Bromley,
We disagree on the WWF. Completely. They are a self-serving bunch of rent chasers. I do not accept them as being experts on anything at all, except on how to feather their own nests.
I also stand by my statement that antlers will not lay around decomposing. No way in hell. If you have any to spare, send them to me. They are worth cash money, and therefore they will not lay on the ground anywhere that people go. Their absence is no proof either way of changes in deer populations.
Your mind is made up that human activity is causing widespread species extinctions, but with no bodies to show us. OK, then, we disagree.

Bromley

I wouldn’t say that my mind is made up, more like, the majority of convincing evidence points towards this disturbing trend. Honestly, like I said, I’m not an authority on the wwf, you may know stuff about them that I don’t.
That said, there is a lot of evidence coming from a lot of different sources, that are showing some terrible and converging trends. Human activity occurs on such a grand scale nowadays that its affecting animal populations, its affecting the climate, we are changing the world in ways that we don’t even understand. I agree with you, I wish we had more evidence but the only way we are going to get more evidence is if we study it. I’m sure we can agree that the world is changing, personally, I’m glad there are people out there who are devoting time to tracking these changes. Maybe the wwf isn’t a reliable source but there are so many other studies coming from universities and other environmental groups that are pointing out similar trends. You think its some massive conspiracy? I think there are too many people involved for that to be the case and I just don’t think we would see the convergance that we do without there being some element of truth behind it.
Honestly, I hope you’re right, I hope the world is fine but I’ve seen so much evidence to the contrary that I’m inclined to believe we are losing biodiversity and mankind is likely playing a large role in this reduction. Even if mankind isn’t playing a role in its reduction, don’t you think we should be playing a role in its proliferation? because we already know the importance of ecosystems and we have lots of evidence that tells us that a healthy forest is a populated forest.

Bromley

Sidenote: Where can you sell antlers at? I know some knives have antler handles, and I’ve made a couple myself but I didn’t know there was much of a market for them. This is interesting news. I’ve been hunting spike bucks since I was a little kid and I have tons of antlers in my basement from over the years… and I don’t really have any need for them… a little cash on the other hand? Haha That wouldn’t be too bad.

Bromley says:
…the majority of convincing evidence… we have lots of evidence…
What we need is evidence; verifiable, real world observations. Bodies. But so far, it’s been mostly assertions. Actual evidence is very scanty.
Re: selling antlers. Do a search for knifemakers. Check with places like A.G. Russell. Knife makers ran out of India stag years ago, after the Indian gov’t stopped issuing export permits. India stag was the preferred knife scale [handle] material. Now they use what they can get. Bone [various types, including giraffe bone and other exotics], antler, coral, horn, ivory [walrus and other types], warthog tusk, malachite and other semi-precious stone, and even ancient woolly Mammoth tusks.
Knifemakers are always looking for anything natural and interesting. A few years ago some of the arches in Yellowstone made by the Boy Scouts out of elk antlers were stolen, presumably to supply the market. And as you can imagine, a Mammoth tusk brings big bucks. A few are found every year in Siberia.
[PS: see the reply from Willis, at the bottom of the thread.]

Bromley

Thanks dbstealey, I’ll look into it.
Honestly, I hear you on the evidence thing but, as far as I understand nature, I don’t think you’re ever going to see the bodies because they’ve already been consumed or they were never born in the first place.
I don’t know if you know this, but the conditions necessary to create a fossil are actually extremely rare. When we look at the fossil record, we believe that we are looking at less than 1% of the total life that lived on this planet at that time. Isn’t that crazy? I’m impressed we’ve managed to find the variety of fossils that we have considering the rarity of ideal conditions.

Bromley,
So 99% of all species have gone extinct naturally — but you’re convinced, without any real evidence, that humans are responsible for wiping out many species now?
Science is all about evidence and measurements. Religion is about belief.
Take your pick.

Bromley

I’m sorry, I must not have stated that clearly. What I was trying to illustrate was, the fossil record is actually very sparse compared to the actual number of plants and animals that have existed throughout history. Stated another way, most animals don’t stick around to become fossils. They breakdown and turn into food for other animals, bacteria and plants. Its likely where our bodies will go too unless we get mummified (which is also very rare) or fossilized.
Personally, I’ve never liked that 99% extinct number because it’s so arbitrary, we don’t really know what percentage of life has gone extinct since the creation of life. I mean, if we count bacteria and pond scum, its probably true but, at the same time, look at crocodiles and sharks, close relatives of them have been in existence for millions of years.
I kind of agree with you regarding science, well, I certainly agree that measurement and evidence are integral to the validity of a theory. I would argue that predictive value is the most fundamentally important aspect of science, since it allows us to use science to make assumptions and predict how the future will go… but that’s getting a little off topic.
That said, that’s exactly what the wwf report is, they’ve been measuring animal populations over the years, the changes in numbers are what provide the evidence for the report. Assuming the numbers were legitimately gathered (and I don’t think there’s sufficient reason to doubt them), then their report is scientific.

Even if the 50% claim is true, which I very much doubt, the bad news for all you little greenies out there is that extinction is the norm, rather than speciation or survival. 99.9% of all species which evolved on the Earth are extinct and all of that well before we Homo Sapiens came along.
Pointman

SCheesman

Actually, that 99.9% figure is a complete guess as well, since the number of fossilized extinct species (e.g. the ones we actually have evidence for) comprises about 0.1% (if you are generous) of that 99.9% figure. The rest are “model-based” (the model being gradual evolution).

Well, at this rate we’ll be extinct soon too. After all, it’s the norm. I suppose we shouldn’t do anything about it.

Michael Wassil

The probability of you being correct are quite good. Although ‘soon’ is subjective and our species has developed quite good adaptive mechanisms via culture that other species haven’t. On the other hand, barring a very large impact event, nuclear war, a rogue virus or arrival of the Borg, you and I personally will be long gone before it happens, so I’m not losing sleep over it.

ROM

“99.9% of all species which evolved on the Earth are extinct and all of that well before we Homo Sapiens came along”
_______
I think we can extend that comment somewhat.
Had those extinctions never happened there would have been no new open niches that provided the opportunity for the species, Homo sapiens to arise and evolve into.
Thats us!
We are here for no other reason than a niche somewhere in the last few million years opened up for our species to evolve into and occupy. A niche that shaped our Homo sapien species into what it is today and a niche that some other species no doubt occupied until either extinction or their own ongoing evolution changed the situation and made space and a niche available for our species to evolve and occupy.
Nor is it likely that life would have evolved past the simple bacterial level which took about 3 billion years to occur in any case, to the levels of complexity in both biological structure as well as the levels of intelligence of today if regular and wide spread extinctions of various classes of bacterial and virus based life had not occurred during that three billion year long pre-complex life era, probable bacterial extinctions that made new niches available for the later and increasingly complex life forms to evolve and move into.

CodeTech

Ask yourself this question: Do you know anyone who would read this, and immediately believe it?
Do you know anyone who has such a low view of humanity that they would buy this outrageous and way over-the-top claim? 52% of the planet’s wildlife, including the oceans?
If you know anyone who would believe this, I highly recommend that you seek for them the help they need.
This is just, plain, off the deep end. This IS the day that the WWF has moved from terror to shark jumping.
I’m appalled, and shocked… and I honestly didn’t think there was anything these idiots could do that would surprise me.

johnmarshall

Well the BBC beleived it enough for it to be on the BC news this morning and the Daily Telegraph made it frome page news.

johnmarshall

Sorry believed and BBC

Thai Rogue

No John, you had it right the first time.

LeeHarvey

No, Thai Rogue… I believe he meant BS, not BC or BBC.

artwest

Front page news in The Guardian – complete with huge picture of a non-extinct whale when I first saw it online. Plenty of completely accepting comments too.
The trouble is that most people aren’t either hardcore environmentalists or people who are going to skeptically question of every word in a WWF press release. Most people just skim the headline and a couple of paras, if that, and move on with the vague lasting impression that the article is probably true – without really thinking about it.
They aren’t stupid, we all tend do the same with articles if we don’t have a particular interest in the subject.

Jeff in Calgary

The truly insidious part is that most people don’t even really read the article, or question it. The statement just becomes a part of their psyche. Now to them it is just part of everyone’s general knowledge that we have killed of 50% of the animals. This is especially true for urbanites. People who have never left the cities, and have no clue about nature.

The point of my father’s last post on WUWT was that the vast majority of people believe this propaganda without question. Betty White just did a commercial claiming a gigantic species extinction number.

Owen in GA

It was the Lede on the CBS Radio news this morning.

Paul

“Do you know anyone who would read this, and immediately believe it”
Yep, the 3 young guys I work with. They’re totally convinced that AGW is ruining the planet, and laugh every time I bring up “the Pause”…the old man doesn’t know anything. Youth is wasted on the young.

What is surprising and rather sad is that something like this, where a “baseless” claim provides no actual rebuttal, is somehow accepted by some people as evidence to the contrary of this report. If you’re touting rational thinking, I see none here.

CodeTech

Certainly not by looking in the mirror, hey Evan?

Michael Wassil

Evan September 30, 2014 at 8:05 am

What is surprising and rather sad is that something like this, where a “baseless” claim provides no actual rebuttal, is somehow accepted by some people as evidence to the contrary of this report…

Really? I would agree with you, were you correct. Unfortunately, you must have stopped reading the article before you got to this part: “Why is this a baseless claim? Read this: Where Are The Corpses?” Which conveniently links to an article that does a pretty good job of rebutting the baseless claim. Why don’t you read that and get back to us.

Gaylon

@CodeTech – Uh…yea!:
http://news.yahoo.com/wildlife-numbers-halved-over-past-four-decades-wwf-225611591.html?bcmt=1412107869626-4f843349-d545-4e48-a909-8ec739d9728c_00002b000000000000000000000000-8f545dee-56ab-42bc-8707-4ee59ad2ebf8&bcmt_s=u#mediacommentsugc_container=
Quite a few. But I do not recommend you check this out as it will only bolster the position that our own extinction will turn out to be sooner, rather than later. ;0)

Gaylon

@CodeTech, sorry. My comment refers to yours further up-thread: “Do you know anyone who would read this, and immediately believe it?”

CodeTech

I guess more than a few people missed the point of my observation.
What I’d like to know is, what kind of less-than-critical thinking human reads an absolutely outrageous claim like this one from the WWF, and immediately and unquestioningly believes every word?
The obvious fact that the records required to make this determination DID NOT EXIST IN 1970 should be waving the first red flag. The conclusion is fabricated, not just wrong, because nobody can prove otherwise. However, within hours this completely fabricated lie has become a “fact” in the minds of an entire generation.
I suppose somewhere, some lying scum twit who thought this one up purely for raising funds must be grinning. He/she/they should be thrown in jail. Talk about yelling “fire” in a crowded theater…

DirkH

CodeTech
October 1, 2014 at 2:23 am
“What I’d like to know is, what kind of less-than-critical thinking human reads an absolutely outrageous claim like this one from the WWF, and immediately and unquestioningly believes every word?”
Many – it is a matter of trust. I do not say that a majority of the population trusts the media – but maybe half do. The other half ignores media altogether; not even tracking the stories; and if you told one of those the latest media hype story, they would just shrug and say, I gotta get on with my life, I just don’t care.
The trusters accept blindly. They let the media feed them stories and do not think about it; they basically let themselves be programmed by the TV. It goes straight into the unconscious and forms their Weltanschauung withoutt them even noticing.
And then there’s a tiny minority that watches what the media – or the voices that make themselves heard in the media like the WWF – are doing. We are the only ones.
Which should not make us despair. The trusters, and the ignorant can be talked to and are mostly reasonable people. The trusters just need to have some serious deconstruction of their implant Weltanschauung. It is not their own; they have become cult victims without noticing.

Bloke down the pub

I wonder if these people have ever looked at the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic and pondered which one has the higher ghg emissions? http://www.unep.org/disastersandconflicts/portals/155/countries/haiti/imgs/Haiti2013.jpg

Pretty far off topic I’m afraid, but should be of interest, if not controversial:
What’s up with the Bomb Model?
The 14C atomic bomb model for CO2 sequestration gets blown out of the water.

tty

Careful Euan. If you are right you have just destroyed the argument that the atmospheric isotope ratio proves that the increase in atmospheric CO2 is due to burning fossil fuel, since by your reasoning only fossil-fuel CO2 from the last few years can still be found in the atmosphere.

euanmearns

In my post I do say that d13C data will be similarly affected. There is a big difference though in recognising a light d13C signature in the atmosphere attributed to burning FF and using the data to try and quantify the amount. Surely everyone agrees that we are burning FF and this will impact the d13C of the atmosphere?
“If I am right” – the post has been reviewed by some fairly senior geochemists and there are no dissenting voices. Phil Chapman who may have written one of the first web posts on using bomb 14C agrees the post is sound. I believed the bomb data myself until a couple of weeks ago when I was pressed into coming up with reasons why it had to be false.
Its no major disaster. The Bern model is still crap and can be falsified on a number of grounds. Just that 14C ain’t one of them.

euanmearns

This is on topic though, by Roger Andrews:
Global warming and extinct species: three case studies.

markl

Most of the ‘animal extinctions due to AGW’ when properly researched were found to be anthropogenic all right…..usually destruction of habitat or food source. Interesting that the banded snail in Roger Andrew’s paper were recently found to be still around and not extinct at all.

euanmearns

One major concern is that single minded focus on CO2 and AGW sets aside a host of real issues that may in fact be doing extensive arm to Earth ecosystems. Hoovering vast amounts of stuff out of the oceans is one and deforestation another.

Well obviously the answer to to raise the poor to first world standards. Copious controllable energy production does that. This report is against that. How amusingly normal. How grotesque.

planebrad

M Simon. We all know that the secret sauce that will fix the world is socialism. Either that or the systemic killing of all humans in third world countries. As the report noted, the vast majority of extinctions occur in low-income countries. Looks like Latin America will be first in line for extermination. It’s for the children. 😉

Mark Cooper

I do not understand “Baseless claim from WWF: Half of global wildlife lost, says new WWF report” and then a quote from WWF.
Where is the rebuttal that this is a baseless claim? Yes it is a very annoying article- I read it 12 hours ago (in Brisbane time) The headline is pointless. Disappointing…

MarkW

Where’s the rebuttal? Reality provides it’s own rebuttal.
Regardless, it is up to the person making extraordinary claims to provide proof to the support the claim, and absolutely no proof is offered. If half the world’s species have gone extinct, it should be trivial to provide a list with 10’s of thousands of names on it. Instead, they make the claim that the species that have gone extinct are species that we didn’t know about and died out before science could discover them.
How convenient.
Isn’t if fascinating that not a single species known to science has gone extinct due to global warming, but thousands, perhaps millions of species that are unknown to science are now gone.
That’s a BS statement from the get go, and if you can’t see it, then I feel sorry for whoever thought they were teaching you critical thinking skills.

The WWF article didn’t say they went extinct. Only that the number of animals, i.e. their total mass, has declined. That is an answer to “Where are the bodies?” There are no bodies if the animals are not born or are eaten.
It is still bogus. Even if we have a good census of animal populations in 2014, who can claim as good a census existed in 1970?
WWF can’t even get the decline in ONE SPECIES correct: Polar Bears.

Shortbread

As you say it is interesting that the banded snail is not extinct at all. And here is an example of how difficult it is to make a species extinct.
http://www.theonion.com/articles/50-years-of-climate-change-habitat-loss-somehow-un,37062/

I agree, to call somethi9ng baseless when it has a firm basis in fact, and not to provide counter information is like sitting in a boat with water pouring in the other end and saying “not my problem!”
[apparently you are incapable of reading the link to the story at the bottom, or being able to see that the financial survival of the WWF depends on constantly beating the drum with messages of doom to lure in the gullible and their money -mod]

Owen in GA

I see no evidence of water in the boat, thus if you tell me it is sinking, you better show me!

Dave Walker

Anthony, the WWF study is about population levels , not extinctions, so Willis’ excellent article isn’t relevant. Loss of habitat, overfishing, lack of law and property rights , all add up to less wildlife. But these trends are reversible as the poor people of the world get richer and more able to afford environmental management. Still, it’s hard to trust a study published by an advocacy group.

Juice

I think that most readers here will see the headline and read, “50% of species extinct because of global warming,” which is not at all what the report is saying. It seems to be addressing real environmental problems. Humans do in fact destroy animal habitats and it’s a big problem.

Jeff in Calgary

“Humans do in fact destroy animal habitats and it’s a big problem.”
Turns out that we (Humans) have turned a corner. We are actualy creating animal habitat now. Even at great expense to our own helth and welfare.

Michael Wassil

Dave Walker September 30, 2014 at 4:54 am
I see that Willis updated his contribution with a population chart lifted from Living Planet Report with some additional comments which address your concerns.

ozspeaksup

yeah, if 3rd world people with coal were “allowed” to build power plants to provide refrigeration to keep food in..they wouldnt be hunting bush meat daily would they?
they could maybe BUY or kill what they breed and store some beef goat etc and keep it for a week or so rather than a large share out for a day or two then hunt again.
having available Clean meats, power to cook properly etc would maybe have helped change practices like those that have led to Ebola right now too.

I believe it! 51% of the 52% are birds at wind farms….hee hee
Alfred

Owen in GA

Don’t forget the ones at solar farms

Evan

House cats and cell phone towers kill far more birds annually than wind farms:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/09/15/wind-turbines-kill-fewer-birds-than-cell-towers-cats/15683843/
Half of the comments here are retarded and disturbing, for the record.

Juice

How many raptors and other large birds do cats kill? Radio towers, etc. yeah they kill tons of birds.

CodeTech

So you are unaware that the information at the link you just posted is completely bogus?
Do you understand the meaning of the words “credibility” and “agenda”?

michael hart

Evan September 30, 2014 at 7:42 am
Half of the comments here are retarded and disturbing, for the record.

lol Does that include half of your comments?
Of course when a population increases, it probably doesn’t get blamed on climate change or global warming. Unless it is bad of course. So the BBC was quite happy to report on increased sightings of “Britain’s most venomous spider”. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24636116
Even though the expert was at pains to point out the alarmist nature of many claims, it still made a good story, eh?

Rdcii

I find it disturbing that, with apparently full knowledge that house cats and cell phone towers are killing lots of birds, you would support yet another way to slaughter birds. Do you believe the existing bird slaughter is inefficient or inadequate? What have you got against birds?
You’re aware that the US govt had to grant wind turbines an Unlimited hunting license to slaughter as many raptors as they want in order to make the industry viable?
Unlimited.
Let that word echo around in your head a minute. Apparently, the govt thinks the number of raptor kills could potentially be so large that they don’t dare put a cap on it for fear of threatening the industry.
And, of course, the study mentioned in the link compares the number of mostly raptors killed by wind turbines to the number of mostly songbirds killed by other sources, without mentioning that the numbers of raptors is orders of magnitude less than the number of songbirds. How did these smart scientists overlook such a salient point?
There are around 10,000 nesting pairs of Bald Eagles currently. A population so small is certain to be affected by a new source of slaughter, targetted at raptors, of 350,000 birds a year, don’t you think?
Also, this non-pc use of “retard”…what would your friends think?

Michael Wassil

Evan September 30, 2014 at 7:42 am

Half of the comments here are retarded and disturbing, for the record.

Actually, it’s a right-wing conspiracy paid for by the Koch brothers and Big Oil, Inc.
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=499532486769625&set=a.221233134599563.54502.221222081267335&type=1

DEEBEE

n, tempting as you make it to call you names — you do damage to your POV by the snootiness you exude.

I have never seen a house cat take down an Eagle or a Hawk. Maybe you can provide some pictures of that.

David

Just to keep things on topic, WWF is talking about a drop in the total population of animals, not extinction. So I don’t think Willis’ article is relevant as a rebuttal. That being said, I’m not sure how the get to their 1970 base rate…

Gary Pearse

David, how many hundreds of millions of tons of marine and terrestrial life do you think this is. Yes, Willis’ article is very germane: WHERE ARE THE BODIES? I know you have to be too smart to simply believe this, so that would make you ingenuous or dishonest?

Pete Brown

From the appendix of the report:
“All data used in constructing the index are time series of either
population size, density, abundance or a proxy of abundance. The
species population data used to calculate the index are gathered
from a variety of sources. Time series information for vertebrate
species is collated from published scientific literature, online
databases and grey literature, totalling 2,337 individual data
sources. Data are only included if a measure of population size
were available for at least two years, and information available on
how the data were collected, what the units of measurement were,
and the geographic location of the population. The data must be
collected using the same method on the same population throughout
the time series and the data source referenced and traceable.
The period covered by the index is from 1970 to 2010. The
year 2010 is chosen as the cut-off point for the index because there
is not yet enough data to calculate a robust index up to the present
day. Datasets are continually being added to the database.”
So apparently they are counting the bodies……

Jimbo

Pete Brown
September 30, 2014 at 6:28 am
From the appendix of the report:
…..The data must be collected using the same method on the same population throughout the time series and the data source referenced and traceable……

That bit caught my eye. I know populations of animals do move around the planet. I have also learnt a lesson about methods of counting. See this.

LiveScience – April 13, 2012
Emperor Penguin Numbers Double Previous Estimates, Satellites Show
“It surprised us that we approximately doubled the population estimate,” said Peter Fretwell, a scientist with the British Antarctic Survey and lead author of a paper published today in the journal PLoS One……
http://www.livescience.com/19677-emperor-penguin-numbers-double-previous-estimates-satellites-show.html
=======================
Abstract – 2012
An Emperor Penguin Population Estimate: The First Global, Synoptic Survey of a Species from Space
….We found four new colonies and confirmed the location of three previously suspected sites giving a total number of emperor penguin breeding colonies of 46. We estimated the breeding population of emperor penguins at each colony during 2009 and provide a population estimate of ~238,000 breeding pairs (compared with the last previously published count of 135,000–175,000 pairs). Based on published values of the relationship between breeders and non-breeders, this translates to a total population of ~595,000 adult birds……..
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0033751#pone-0033751-g003

Eric

Pete Brown
The problem is that they do not list the 2000+ sources. The sources also include “online databases and grey literature…” I wonder how many of the sources are one of those two??

Evan

Where are the bodies? Hmm…I wonder. Where do 7.6 billion human beings come from? Last time I checked we kinda like to eat animals. Maybe they’re in your stomach?

David

Relax Gary, no need to get rude (ingenuous, dishonest? come on!). My first reaction to an article like this is that it’s crap. But if we are to reply to it, let’s at least address their point. The article does not talk of extinction, but of a reduction of the population. Unless I missed it somewhere (which would not make me ingenous nor dishonest), please point it out. Otherwise, keep up.

DirkH

Evan
September 30, 2014 at 7:43 am
“Where are the bodies? Hmm…I wonder. Where do 7.6 billion human beings come from? Last time I checked we kinda like to eat animals. Maybe they’re in your stomach?”
So you’re saying the WWF is worried about the decline in farm animals?

TBraunlich

I agree. Neither this post nor Willis’ article from 2010 are a rebuttal to the WWF claim that half the animal population is gone. I’d like to see an analysis of the WWF’s method and a reality check on that before it is called “baseless.”

DirkH

Somebody else said the WWF didn’t even get the Polar Bears right – so the onus of proof should be on them, don’t you think so? Their sources are grey literature. Well, that probably includes Moby Dick. You trust a source like that? Why?

michael hart

The BBC certainly doesn’t headline it as only being only a drop in total populations.
They claim “The global loss of species is even worse than previously thought, with wildlife populations halving in just 40 years, a report says.”
I won’t say the BBC is worse than I thought, because I can think pretty bad….

Alba

There is intense competition between the green lobbies to raise revenue. Part of this competition involves the competition to see who can come up with the scariest idea. The winner of that competition wins the pot of gold. I want to know who was counting the number of ants in the world all this time.

Alan the Brit

“There is a lot of data in this report and it can seem very overwhelming and complex,” said Jon Hoekstra, chief scientist at WWF. “What’s not complicated are the clear trends we’re seeing — 39 percent of terrestrial wildlife gone, 39 percent of marine wildlife gone, 76 percent of freshwater wildlife gone – all in the past 40 years.”
So, WWF, could you please advise just how many species there were in the first instance, no guessing, no ifs, buts, or maybes, either? Last I heard nothing has gone onto the Red List for over 5 years! Although I dare say some are added to keeping the pay cheques rolling in, like Polar Bears, 25,000 in 13 known groups today as opposed to barely (bearly?) 5,000 in the 50s & 60s! The gall of these people!

Martin

Hang on – the article “Where Are The Corpses?” is to do with species extinction.
The WWF study is about the reduction in the population of wildlife, not species extinction.

Gary Pearse

So where are the corpses?

steveta_uk

Not relevant – obviously the vast majority of individual animals alive on 1970 are now dead – so where are the corpses?

rogerknights

But Evan’s long comment WAS about species extinctions. That’s what a lot of the following comments were responding to.

Sean

How much wildlife is lost because of renewable fuels turning rainforests in Indonesia into biofuel plantations or Amazon jungle into sugar based ethanol production? The environmentalists just might be the environments worst enemy

Greg Woods

+10

Sean

How much wildlife is lost because of renewable fuels turning rainforests in Indonesia into biofuel plantations or Amazon jungle into sugar based ethanol production? The environmentalists just might be the environments worst enemy

Bill Illis

Report at this page.
http://www.worldwildlife.org/publications/living-planet-report-2014
Its difficult to understand what they are doing. They use an index method, tracking 3038 species. Appendix starting on page 138 partially describes what they are measuring. Otherwise, the report is just made-up graphics and nice pictures of non-dangerous animals.

Posted this link also at the Tim Ball contribution on “extinction” http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ddi.12246/abstract;jsessionid=6F57E630CB0DB07927BCE4B4655A6CEE.f01t02 describing (september 2014) the discovery of more than 20 new vertebrate species in East ~Africa. Recent reports in Europe indicate nature’s recovery. I think when societies reach a certain level of sophistication, nature will take care of itself.

Gamecock

Doomkopfs.

Stacey

“39 percent of terrestrial wildlife gone”
So how did those little bitty Polar Bears manage to increase in population size?

Sceptical Sam

Oh, come on, Stacy. That’s easy.
By eating 39% of terrestrial wildlife.
It’s the Polar Bears fault.

Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
Baseless is an understatement. The WWF statement is actionable if anyone can show standing.
Let’s see, this article, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110823180459.htm, from 2011, the year after the claim-period, indicates 8.7 million species on earth. We can figure 8.7M is 52% of what number? That is a whopping 16.7 million species on earth in 1970. 40 years times 365.25 days per year is 14,610 days, that is just over 1145 species died out per day on a linear average. Given the purported growth of CO2 and alarmist global warming, obviously the death rate would have started out slow and ramped up. So, what, we must be losing over 2,000 species per day by now, right? Okay, where are the corpses? http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/04/where-are-the-corpses/
To be fair, I suppose I should only use the 7.8 million number from the Camilo Mora, Derek P. Tittensor, Sina Adl, Alastair G. B. Simpson, Boris Worm. How Many Species Are There on Earth and in the Ocean? PLoS Biology, 2011; 9 (8): e1001127 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001127 paper. The world wrestling, I mean wildlife, federation, I mean, fund, seems to be including only our animalia kin. (As though the protozoa just don’t matter to them.)

Joseph Murphy

This isn’t a report, it is environmentalism porn.
Nothing like a good hubristic fantasy that the world is in peril, mankind is to blame, and only you can stop it. That puts the feeble minded not only above mankind, but nature as well. These sorts of fantasies used to be satisfied by reading novels.

I had a debate with a WWF person on their figures for loss of African Elephants. He claimed 20,000 per year. That works out at 54/day so I called BS. I also told them that WWF had $800 mill stashed in their bank accounts. That person claimed it wasn’t enough to save the elephants. Again I called BS. If I had $800 mill I reckon it would be easy to stop poaching of the elephants. But hey it is all about them wanting us to part with more of our hard earned.

Juice

I don’t know why you think it would be easy to stop elephant poaching with $800 million.

FerdinandAkin

To channel Wills,
“Where are the bodies?”

Juice

They were never born. What a stupid question.

DirkH

And you know that how?

It occurred to me that the number was about total population rather than species, but I dismissed the thought. That is even more ridiculous. Over half of all the critters on the planet? In forty years? That would be absurdly obvious. Don’t they remember the bigger critters eat the smaller? Why hasn’t the whole thing collapsed? Who can ask about refutation? The assertion is absurd on its face.

Jimbo

Perhaps if they focused more attention on wildlife preservation and less on a trace gas wildlife numbers might be higher today. Just a thought.

bit chilly

bingo !

Jimbo

While high-income countries show a 10 percent increase in biodiversity, the rest of the world is seeing dramatic declines. Middle-income countries show 18 percent declines, and low-income countries show 58 percent declines.

I suspect deforestation has a part to play. You cannot deprive poor developing countries from using fossil fuels AND cutting down trees.
///////// Haiti (left) V Dominica Republic (right)
http://web.nmsu.edu/~jfsavage/re_tree_haiti/haiti-island-001.jpg
http://www1.american.edu/ted/icecases/maps/haiti-dominican%20border.jpg

John West

Bingo! Available habitat for wildlife correlates with fossil fuel use.
Burn fossil fuels, it’s good for the environment.

wally

Haiti is also on the dry side of the island compounding the problem.
Dave’s reference to poor people getting rich is absurd. Poor people would then increase consumption and corresponding footprint. It’s the lefty problem 5 hey like to ignore on immigration from the 3rd world and refugee resettlement.

tty

“Haiti is also on the dry side of the island compounding the problem.”
Ever visited SW Dominican Republic? It’s quite arid, but has a reasonably intact vegetation in contrast to nearby parts of Haite.

Edohiguma

The method the WWF uses is called “rolling dice”. Everyone who plays some kind of tabletop war game or something like D&D is familiar with the method. My study shows that they roll a d100 three times, and take the average from it as “proof”.

Edohiguma

PS:For my study I rolled a d20 5 times and took the average. So you see, it’s perfectly scientific, just like the WWF’s.

Jimbo

Maybe the WWF could help out bird species by not supporting wind turbines. Note they say no mention of the blades shredding capabilities.

Myth 8: Wind turbines are dangerous for birds
But actually… A recent study by the British Trust for Ornithology, Scottish Natural Heritage and the RSPB, which studied ten bird species studied at 18 wind farms, found that building wind turbines was more disruptive to birds than operating them (10). The RSPB states that wind farms with the right strategy and planning will not have ‘significant detrimental effects on birds of conservation concern or their habitats’. (11)
http://earthhour.wwf.org.uk/renewable-energy/busting-the-wind-power-myths

http://media.syracuse.com/outdoors/photo/091808windscene4mjgjpg-072ce9e7a7771863_large.jpg
http://i.cbc.ca/1.1962752.1381464979!/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/16x9_620/li-turbine-620-2861173.jpg

As long as the wind isn’t blowing wind farms are of minimal danger to birds. Thus the best place to build wind farms is where the wind doesn’t blow. It is the only way to be certain no birds will be harmed – the precautionary principle.

MrBungled

Now we’re getting somewhere! Can feel the winds-o-change blowin…..

hunter

+1

Owen in GA

Don’t forget the streamers at the solar plants either

Jimbo

The following is why intensive farming and fossil fuels are good for trees.
http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/9/30/1412065026532/Doughnutchartwildlife.png

Gary Pearse

How many tonnes of creatures are there? The annual fish catch is 90million tonnes and this is only the edible ones. So there must be 500billion tonnes of fish, shells, worms, etc. at least. Humankind only ways half a billion tonnes so we didn’t eat them all – actually, except for fish (a third of which we farm) and the rest we farm. Now imagine half of these dead! Where are the bodies? The only ones reported in any numbers recently were killed by windmills and solar tower plants. Add the billions of tonnes of land creatures…. Do these guys not think we notice the timing of all the stuff from WWF, NOAA, Unis, etc. The climate summit was a bust, the march brought ~125,000 useful idjits, many of them paid (‘to hand out leaflets’- yeah).

Pete Brown

Gary – I’m not sure that the alleged absence of dead biomass is the right challenge here, if indeed that is your point. As a matter of fact, ALL animals die. Going back to 1970, I would imagine pretty much all of the creatures that were alive at the time are now dead, with the possible exception of a particularly hardy donkey or two, maybe a couple of elephants, and a large number of rich western humans, who might have a life expectancy of 45+ years. Otherwise they’re all soil.
The rate of dead biomass accumulated over time will in fact only have reduced if populations have declined over time. So you could be asking; Where is the absence of the dead bodies, or Where is the reduction in the rate of accumulation of dead bodies, but on the whole I think the better approach is to count the live bodies…

Stephen Richards

will not have ‘significant detrimental effects on birds of conservation concern or their habitats’
There’s those words again. “Significant” Means they kill birds. So why does the RSPB support them at all ? Because of the pognon (bribery).

That was last week, next week it will be 48 percent of terrestrial wildlife, 72 percent of marine wildlife and 98 percent of freshwater wildlife – unless we get more funding. Lots more.

H.R.

I have x-ray vision, I can fly, and bullets just bounce off of me.
See… I can make stuff up too. WWF doesn’t have a monopoly on fibrication.

Tim

Shuuure…I would totally believe a multi-billion dollar activist group with a global political agenda any day. No problem.

Shona

I couldn’t get past the political gumpf about bad westereners eating too much. I don’t believe anythingbthey say any more. As far as I can see noone is doing any actual research. Or maybe the guys counting polar bears on satellite pics. But that’s about it.

Steve Jones

This story has been run on the BBC. As is the usual way with these things, the arch-activist who ‘wrote’ the article merely carried out an uncritical cut and paste job. The comments following the article tell you everything you need to know about the mindset of the people who swallow this clap-trap.

Tim

The mindset of these people has probably been well researched. The PR experts are aiming at this Target Market because it’s in the gullible-majority category. IQ is optional..

Maybe this is stating the blindingly obvious, but isn’t the answer to raise living standards for humanity as a whole? That means ditching renewable ‘energy’ entirely would be a really good start. Bring on the molten salt reactors . .

David Ball

Excellent and blindingly obvious to only a select few, unfortunately.

Latitude

…a major slap in the face to all the people that have worked to increase these same populations

Love this line:

“We’re gradually destroying our planet’s ability to support our way of life,” said Carter Roberts,

He is honest. Alarmists are only doing that gradually because they are being met with resistance.

wally

I don’t see killing people for food in their proposed solutions.
Sheesh. And they call themselves wildlife advocates.

Alan Robertson

I hope that WWF’s claim gets published far and wide. The more people that read their claims, the better. WWF can take all the rope they need…

The commenters here are making two big mistakes:
1) confusing the number of species on Earth with the total population among those species on Earth. Willis’ article is not relevant to the latter question, which is what the WWF claim is about.
2) dismissing the WWF claim by simply saying “where are the corpses?” is a nonsense response in my view. Regardless of whether there is population loss going on, every year many millions of animals die or are preyed upon. Where are those corpses? Gone, of course. Eaten in the normal course of nature and returned to the earth. The question is whether they are being successfully replaced. Populations of a species will dwindle over the years if more of them are dying than are being born and raised to adulthood.
The WWF claim is about animal populations declining, mainly in third-world areas where pressure on the environment is highest. It is up to WWF to support the claim with facts (not estimates). And it is up to WUWT to back up its assertion that the WWF claim is baseless, which is has not done in this article or in Willis’ old article about extinctions.

Owen in GA

Those who make extraordinary claims must show iron-clad proof of those claims

Do you find their claim of a 28% decline since 1970 jumping to a 52% decline within two years (from 2008 to 2010) credible?

Jimbo

TBraunlich
I saw an alien craft land nearby yesterday.

And it is up to YOU to back up your assertion that Jimbo’s claim is baseless

This is your position.

phlogiston

TBraunlich September 30, 2014 at 6:40 am
Both those “mistakes” pale into insignificance compared to your monstrous mistake of taking a single word uttered by the compulsively mendacious WWF seriously. These brown shirted greens are incapable of honesty and only after power.
Half the worlds organisms just suddenly died and no-one noticed? This infantile idiocy one would expect from a 2 year old.
The general public – leaving aside the air-headed chattering class – are not going to believe this excreta for a moment. Quite soon they are going to show up on your front door asking for their money back.

lee

We have here a bird population that is considered by our scientists to only now exist in two locations, hundreds of kilometres from here.
However there is at least one colony near where I live.
I haven’t informed the scientists as I’d rather them live in peace, rather than ‘scientificced’ to death.

Reg. Blank

Presumably this excludes the human population (increased by 100% since 1970) and anything farmed/pets.

New push to supply World’s Wildlife with U.S. Taxpayer funded portable GPS systems.

Brock Way

Accelerate shift to smarter food and energy production
Reduce ecological footprint through responsible consumption at the personal, corporate and government levels
Value natural capital as a cornerstone of policy and development decisions
Huh…not a word about reducing population, clearly the single most important variable in the whole equation. Curious, huh? It almost makes you wonder why population control is never mentioned. Almost.

What a shame we have been let down by our media once again just regurgitating the press release and not looking at the report. You don’t have to look far to find serious problems.
Even if you take their methodology seriously (especially as it seems heavily based on prior WWF work and uses what I perceive to be as a bizarre weighting mechanism), check page 146. The percent change globally is compared between 1970-2008 and 1970-2010. The former is -28% and the latter is the touted -52% figure.
I simply don’t find that leap in two years credible and if this was my data I would immediately assume this is a mistake and something was wrong in the methodology.

lee

Obviously where their ‘ proxy of abundance’ kicked in.

The obvious conclusion to the article is that economic development is good for people AND the environment.

Coach Springer

My first reaction was: What? Is this the Lancet? Garbage In. Garbage Added. Garbage Out.

Mickey Reno

Double secret garbage out…

Coach Springer

We are not outsourcing anything but the Left’s restriction on development. We should be outsourcing. – As in letting Africa live off of it’s resources in ways more like us instead of their best and practically only alternatives being burning their plants and eating their wildlife.