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
September 30, 2014 4:38 am

Name them?

johnmarshall
Reply to  Bobl
September 30, 2014 4:41 am

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
Reply to  johnmarshall
September 30, 2014 5:24 am

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
Reply to  johnmarshall
September 30, 2014 5:47 am

I ate Bambi yesterday.

Travis Casey
Reply to  johnmarshall
September 30, 2014 9:50 am

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

Bobl
Reply to  johnmarshall
October 1, 2014 7:31 am

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.

Reply to  Bobl
September 30, 2014 8:00 am

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
Reply to  Evan
September 30, 2014 8:54 am

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

Randy
Reply to  Evan
September 30, 2014 9:47 am

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
Reply to  Evan
September 30, 2014 9:52 am

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

Newly Retired Engineer
Reply to  Evan
September 30, 2014 9:54 am

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
Reply to  Evan
September 30, 2014 9:56 am

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
Reply to  Evan
September 30, 2014 10:03 am

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
Reply to  Evan
September 30, 2014 10:08 am

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.

Reply to  Evan
September 30, 2014 10:45 am

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
Reply to  Evan
September 30, 2014 11:05 am

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
Reply to  Evan
September 30, 2014 11:33 am

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
Reply to  Evan
September 30, 2014 12:38 pm

How many new species are discovered every year?

Mike
Reply to  Evan
September 30, 2014 12:55 pm

“..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
Reply to  Evan
September 30, 2014 2:52 pm

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

mpainter
Reply to  Evan
September 30, 2014 2:58 pm

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
Reply to  Evan
September 30, 2014 6:33 pm

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

Gaylon
Reply to  Evan
September 30, 2014 6:56 pm

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

DaveW
Reply to  Evan
September 30, 2014 8:16 pm

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
Reply to  Evan
October 1, 2014 3:26 am

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
Reply to  Evan
October 10, 2014 10:51 am

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.

Reply to  Evan
October 10, 2014 11:58 am

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
Reply to  Evan
October 11, 2014 11:53 am

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
September 30, 2014 4:38 am

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

M Courtney
Reply to  johnmarshall
September 30, 2014 8:44 am

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
Reply to  M Courtney
September 30, 2014 1:03 pm

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

Just an engineer
Reply to  johnmarshall
September 30, 2014 2:30 pm

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

milodonharlani
Reply to  Just an engineer
October 11, 2014 11:53 pm

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
Reply to  johnmarshall
October 10, 2014 5:20 pm

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

Reply to  Bromley
October 10, 2014 6:14 pm

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
Reply to  Bromley
October 10, 2014 7:17 pm

“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.

Reply to  Bromley
October 11, 2014 12:02 am

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
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 11, 2014 10:55 am

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
Reply to  Bromley
October 11, 2014 1:16 am

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
Reply to  Bromley
October 11, 2014 1:28 am

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.

Reply to  Bromley
October 11, 2014 2:59 pm

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
Reply to  Bromley
October 11, 2014 10:20 pm

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.

Reply to  Bromley
October 11, 2014 10:44 pm

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
Reply to  Bromley
October 11, 2014 11:32 pm

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
Reply to  Bromley
October 11, 2014 11:39 pm

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.

Reply to  Bromley
October 12, 2014 12:44 pm

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
Reply to  Bromley
October 12, 2014 7:27 pm

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.

Reply to  Bromley
October 12, 2014 9:28 pm

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
Reply to  Bromley
October 13, 2014 12:21 am

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.

September 30, 2014 4:38 am

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
Reply to  Pointman
September 30, 2014 5:45 am

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).

Reply to  Pointman
September 30, 2014 8:06 am

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
Reply to  Evan
September 30, 2014 5:25 pm

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
Reply to  Pointman
September 30, 2014 4:18 pm

“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
September 30, 2014 4:39 am

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
Reply to  CodeTech
September 30, 2014 4:42 am

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
Reply to  johnmarshall
September 30, 2014 4:43 am

Sorry believed and BBC

Thai Rogue
Reply to  johnmarshall
September 30, 2014 5:21 am

No John, you had it right the first time.

LeeHarvey
Reply to  johnmarshall
September 30, 2014 6:19 am

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

artwest
Reply to  CodeTech
September 30, 2014 6:21 am

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
Reply to  artwest
September 30, 2014 8:57 am

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.

Reply to  CodeTech
September 30, 2014 6:39 am

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
Reply to  CodeTech
September 30, 2014 6:47 am

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

Paul
Reply to  CodeTech
September 30, 2014 7:02 am

“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.

Reply to  CodeTech
September 30, 2014 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. If you’re touting rational thinking, I see none here.

CodeTech
Reply to  Evan
September 30, 2014 12:21 pm

Certainly not by looking in the mirror, hey Evan?

Michael Wassil
Reply to  Evan
September 30, 2014 5:42 pm

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
Reply to  CodeTech
September 30, 2014 7:19 pm

@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
Reply to  Gaylon
September 30, 2014 7:22 pm

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

CodeTech
Reply to  Gaylon
October 1, 2014 2:23 am

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
Reply to  Gaylon
October 1, 2014 3:02 am

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
September 30, 2014 4:41 am

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

September 30, 2014 4:42 am

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
Reply to  Euan Mearns
September 30, 2014 11:46 am

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
Reply to  tty
October 1, 2014 4:57 am

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
September 30, 2014 4:46 am

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

markl
Reply to  euanmearns
September 30, 2014 5:12 pm

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
Reply to  markl
October 1, 2014 5:02 am

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.

September 30, 2014 4:50 am

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
Reply to  M Simon
September 30, 2014 8:57 am

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
September 30, 2014 4:51 am

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
Reply to  Mark Cooper
September 30, 2014 5:39 am

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.

Reply to  MarkW
September 30, 2014 8:19 am

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
Reply to  MarkW
October 2, 2014 1:18 am

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/

Reply to  Mark Cooper
September 30, 2014 6:04 am

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
Reply to  Martin Hollands
September 30, 2014 6:49 am

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

Dave Walker
September 30, 2014 4:54 am

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
Reply to  Dave Walker
September 30, 2014 8:41 am

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
Reply to  Juice
September 30, 2014 9:06 am

“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
Reply to  Dave Walker
September 30, 2014 5:55 pm

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
Reply to  Dave Walker
October 1, 2014 3:35 am

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.

September 30, 2014 4:54 am

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

Owen in GA
Reply to  Alfred Alexander
September 30, 2014 6:50 am

Don’t forget the ones at solar farms

Reply to  Alfred Alexander
September 30, 2014 7:42 am

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
Reply to  Evan
September 30, 2014 8:44 am

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

CodeTech
Reply to  Evan
September 30, 2014 12:25 pm

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
Reply to  Evan
September 30, 2014 1:10 pm

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
Reply to  Evan
September 30, 2014 5:07 pm

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
Reply to  Evan
September 30, 2014 6:05 pm

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
Reply to  Evan
October 1, 2014 1:38 am

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

Reply to  Evan
October 1, 2014 10:56 am

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

David
September 30, 2014 4:57 am

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
Reply to  David
September 30, 2014 5:44 am

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
Reply to  Gary Pearse
September 30, 2014 6:28 am

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
Reply to  Gary Pearse
September 30, 2014 7:07 am

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
Reply to  Gary Pearse
September 30, 2014 7:19 am

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??

Reply to  Gary Pearse
September 30, 2014 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?

David
Reply to  Gary Pearse
September 30, 2014 10:33 am

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
Reply to  Gary Pearse
October 1, 2014 3:08 am

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
Reply to  David
September 30, 2014 6:25 am

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
Reply to  TBraunlich
October 1, 2014 3:11 am

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
Reply to  David
September 30, 2014 1:16 pm

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
September 30, 2014 4:58 am

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
September 30, 2014 4:58 am

“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
September 30, 2014 5:03 am

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
Reply to  Martin
September 30, 2014 5:46 am

So where are the corpses?

steveta_uk
Reply to  Gary Pearse
September 30, 2014 7:55 am

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

rogerknights
Reply to  Martin
September 30, 2014 8:23 pm

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

Sean
September 30, 2014 5:05 am

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
Reply to  Sean
September 30, 2014 6:05 am

+10

Sean
September 30, 2014 5:05 am

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
September 30, 2014 5:07 am

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.

September 30, 2014 5:09 am

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
September 30, 2014 5:15 am

Doomkopfs.

Stacey
September 30, 2014 5:19 am

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

Sceptical Sam
Reply to  Stacey
October 1, 2014 1:38 am

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

September 30, 2014 5:25 am

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
September 30, 2014 5:30 am

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.

September 30, 2014 5:32 am

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
Reply to  Steve B
September 30, 2014 8:47 am

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

FerdinandAkin
September 30, 2014 5:39 am

To channel Wills,
“Where are the bodies?”

Juice
Reply to  FerdinandAkin
September 30, 2014 8:48 am

They were never born. What a stupid question.

DirkH
Reply to  Juice
October 1, 2014 3:13 am

And you know that how?

September 30, 2014 5:39 am

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
September 30, 2014 5:43 am

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
Reply to  Jimbo
September 30, 2014 1:42 pm

bingo !

Jimbo
September 30, 2014 5:49 am

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
Reply to  Jimbo
September 30, 2014 6:02 am

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

wally
Reply to  Jimbo
September 30, 2014 6:25 am

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
Reply to  wally
September 30, 2014 11:52 am

“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
September 30, 2014 5:50 am

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
Reply to  Edohiguma
September 30, 2014 5:51 am

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
September 30, 2014 5:57 am

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

Reply to  Jimbo
September 30, 2014 6:19 am

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
Reply to  M Simon
September 30, 2014 6:58 am

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

hunter
Reply to  M Simon
September 30, 2014 12:06 pm

+1

Owen in GA
Reply to  Jimbo
September 30, 2014 6:56 am

Don’t forget the streamers at the solar plants either

Jimbo
September 30, 2014 6:05 am

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
September 30, 2014 6:05 am

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
Reply to  Gary Pearse
September 30, 2014 7:32 am

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
September 30, 2014 6:07 am

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).

September 30, 2014 6:10 am

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.
September 30, 2014 6:10 am

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
September 30, 2014 6:11 am

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

Shona
Reply to  Tim
September 30, 2014 12:25 pm

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
September 30, 2014 6:12 am

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
Reply to  Steve Jones
September 30, 2014 7:05 am

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..

bertief
September 30, 2014 6:13 am

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 . .

Reply to  bertief
September 30, 2014 6:29 am

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

Latitude
September 30, 2014 6:18 am

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

September 30, 2014 6:21 am

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
September 30, 2014 6:30 am

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

Alan Robertson
September 30, 2014 6:37 am

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…

TBraunlich
September 30, 2014 6:40 am

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
Reply to  TBraunlich
September 30, 2014 6:59 am

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

Reply to  TBraunlich
September 30, 2014 7:14 am

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
Reply to  TBraunlich
September 30, 2014 9:31 am

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
Reply to  TBraunlich
September 30, 2014 10:00 am

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
Reply to  TBraunlich
September 30, 2014 11:27 pm

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
September 30, 2014 6:50 am

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

September 30, 2014 6:57 am

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

Brock Way
September 30, 2014 7:00 am

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.

September 30, 2014 7:01 am

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
Reply to  Katabasis
September 30, 2014 11:35 pm

Obviously where their ‘ proxy of abundance’ kicked in.

September 30, 2014 7:03 am

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

Coach Springer
September 30, 2014 7:13 am

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

Mickey Reno
Reply to  Coach Springer
October 1, 2014 5:52 am

Double secret garbage out…

Coach Springer
September 30, 2014 7:21 am

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.

Richard M
September 30, 2014 7:26 am

I suspect a lot of cherry picking is gong on. However, some of it is likely to be true. Consider the US over the past couple of centuries. We used to have a large wolf, bear and bison population just to name a few. Their numbers have been greatly diminished because they were dangerous to humans. However, the populations of other species that were limited by the existence of predators has flourished (deer to name one just one). So, as always, if you pick and choose carefully you can probably tell just about any story you want.
I would expect the same thing is going on in 3rd world countries. The dangerous species or those that damage human property are being eliminated but the species that were prey for those species are likely doing quite well.

klem
September 30, 2014 7:27 am

The WWF is notorious for telling the biggest lies.
I remember 10 years ago they ran a TV ad claiming that 1 species goes extinct every 5 seconds or so due to evil humans. It didn’t take a mathematician to quickly figure out that within several years at that rate, the planet would be barren of life.
Yet the ad remained on tv for over a year.

SAMURAI
September 30, 2014 7:38 am

As Willis always reminds us, “Where are all these dead critters’ bodies?”…
There were around 50 animal extinctions last century, none of which were caused by Global Warming, but rather by: habitat destruction, introduction of non-indigenous species and over hunting/catching/harvesting.
Granted, some of these extinctions were senseless and could and should have avoided, but there are about 10 million species of animals on Earth… WWF’s assertion that animal populations have dropped 40~80% since 1970 is barking mad….
If the enviro-wackos really wish to improve the environment, they’d realize that poverty is perhaps one of the worst causes of environmental destruction. The quickest way to alleviate poverty is by poor countries adopting free-market economies, which requires the economy to have access to cheap fossil fuels, to which they are also opposed…
The WWF is all about centrally controlled economies, expensive energy and lower standards of living…
Oh, goody… I can’t wait for their new dystopian nightmare.

Gary in Fla.
September 30, 2014 7:41 am

The claim in the story is baseless because it literally has no base, that is, no defined starting point of number of animals, just some vague decline percentage.
And if “Data are only included if a measure of population size were available for at least two years,” how can that be included in a 40 year study? Is that population assumed to be 0 prior to the two years of measurment? Or just assumed to be whatever you want it to be prior to the 2 years.

September 30, 2014 7:52 am

Do the WWF realise that given the rate of decline they identify in their report, the following extrapolation becomes possible:
Rate of change in report:
2008: -28%
2010: – 52%
Extrapolating to 2014: -100%!!!
(see p.146)

DrTorch
September 30, 2014 7:53 am

At least a third of the participants from WrestleMania VI are dead now. That’s sad to think about.

LeeHarvey
Reply to  DrTorch
September 30, 2014 8:11 am

Raises the question of which WWF has more credibility.
I say it’s the WrestleMania one…

moray watson
September 30, 2014 7:54 am

‘….said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF…. “We all live on a finite planet and its time we started acting within those limits.”’
Clearly this is false. We do not live on a “finite” planet, because our main energy source, the sun, is extraneous to our planet.

UK Sceptic
September 30, 2014 7:57 am

They obviously attended the Paul Erlich school of applied bollocks statistics.

JimS
September 30, 2014 8:03 am

“Chicken Little had a bird brain” – Captain Obvious

September 30, 2014 8:23 am

I monitor overall wildlife trends as part of my work in the UK and Europe. Whilst there is some recovery – for example, wolf and lynx, some eagles and herons, and some range expansion, the overall pattern since 1970 is dismal – and 50% is not wide of the mark for virtually all farmland birds, many trans-Africa migrant birds some specialist woodland species; amphibians and reptiles are no longer a childhood experience in the countryside; and there are massive declines in insect numbers. Very few fisheries are sustainable, and sharks, turtles, some sea mammals – have shown drastic declines.
Note: the report is dealing with ABUNDANCE not diversity or extinction.
Why is it, I ask myself, because I know the ‘sceptical’ blogging community will not examine its own prejudices, that being sceptical on the science of climate change (and this site does a brilliant job on that science), also coincides with an entrenched naive optimism regarding anything to do with economic growth and resource use? It is sad, because that is one reason why the ‘greens’ can dismiss scepticism. And since most world leaders today have to be ‘green’, it has major consequences for getting the message through.
Please stick to climate science!
PS I am no great fan of WWF.

Anna Keppa
Reply to  Peter Taylor
September 30, 2014 8:40 am

You’ve made a string of unsupported assertions. Back them up, with sources, please.

PeterK
Reply to  Anna Keppa
September 30, 2014 3:09 pm

He doesn’t have to…it’s made from his authority stance “I monitor overall wildlife trends as part of my work in the UK and Europe.” Therefore my interpretation is correct

LeeHarvey
Reply to  Peter Taylor
September 30, 2014 9:33 am

You had me listening right up until you claimed massive declines in insect numbers.

mpainter
Reply to  LeeHarvey
October 1, 2014 5:39 pm

Ditto

Shona
Reply to  Peter Taylor
September 30, 2014 12:38 pm

Not sure I believe pre 70s numbers. Many birds etc supposed to be common pre greenieness, I have never seen. Also, how much of these patterns were due to farming etc methods at the time? And have now changed because land management has changed? It seems to me that many middle aged people take the state of the world when they were young and think it should always be like that. 40 years is a miniscule snspshot in the history of the fauna and flora of the planet. We have literally no idea what the “proper” numbers of anything should be. Or even if such a thing could or should exist.
What I find really strange is that those who are the most enthusiastic about evolution are the first to want to force things to stay the same they were in the summer of 1971…

Shona
Reply to  Peter Taylor
September 30, 2014 12:43 pm

And how do you “monitor” this? Do you go out and count actual creatures? Or do you sit behind a computer?

mpainter
Reply to  Shona
October 1, 2014 5:46 pm

Bet he monitors the same sources that the WWF does. My experience with biologists is that when they don’t see it they don’t count it. They are wrong more often than they are right. It is the old problem of obtaining reliable data.

rogerknights
Reply to  Peter Taylor
September 30, 2014 8:43 pm

What’s offensive about the report is its claim that developed countries have outsourced wildlife destruction. Given that by their own numbers only 7% of the wildlife decline is due to climate change, how are we doing that? Rainforest destruction? But that’s mostly due to biofuel mandates. Other declines are mostly due to increased human populations and to the spread of Kalisnikovs in Africa, expanding the bush meat trade. That’s not our fault. As for fish, it’s the greenies who are opposed to fish farms, which take the pressure off wild fish.

Shawn from High River
September 30, 2014 8:33 am

“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 76% of freshwater wildlife is GONE?!!! He didn’t say in decline or disappearing he said gone. Sorry but we would have noticed if over 2/3 of our freshwater wildlife had vanished,at least in my province.

Richard Day
September 30, 2014 8:35 am

The WWF should have stuck to professional wrestling.

GuarionexSandoval
September 30, 2014 8:36 am

“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.”
Carbon dioxide, morons. But since the CO2 levels of 1,000,000 years ago were tiny compared to those over 150,000,000 years ago and those didn’t whack species, then a return to the slight levels of the status quo antes isn’t going to have any such effect as a necessary outcome. And what about CO2 levels at the end of the Permian period that were as low as anything recently? They were followed by a sudden increase to over 2600 ppm and none of that at the hand of man. It was was an acceptable natural level and we are responsible for the tiniest portion of an increase that is only a fraction of what has been the global average for billions of years, then how can it be considered to be unusual or bad at all?

Thomas Englert
Reply to  GuarionexSandoval
September 30, 2014 5:13 pm

It seems historically that high levels of atmospheric “carbon” did a lot of good, producing lots of food for animals all the way up the food chain.
It appears to me that rapid plant growth would be more beneficial than “destabilizing”.

September 30, 2014 8:37 am

Of all the species on this planet, the one species that should be the easiest to track a population census over time is the polar bear. Where can it hide? What obscures it?
Yet, just this year, the wildlife group that is the authority on the polar bear population trend admits that it was only guesswork to “satisfy a public demand” for a number and should be “viewed with great caution.”

“As part of past status reports, the PBSG has traditionally estimated a range for the total number of polar bears in the circumpolar Arctic. Since 2005, this range has been 20-25,000. It is important to realize that this range never has been an estimate of total abundance in a scientific sense, but simply a qualified guess given to satisfy public demand. It is also important to note that even though we have scientifically valid estimates for a majority of the subpopulations, some are dated. Furthermore, there are no abundance estimates for the Arctic Basin, East Greenland, and the Russian subpopulations. Consequently, there is either no, or only rudimentary, knowledge to support guesses about the possible abundance of polar bears in approximately half the areas they occupy. Thus, the range given for total global population should be viewed with great caution as it cannot be used to assess population trend over the long term.” [A.W.’s bold]

From Polar bear group admits population estimates were a “guess” WUWT June 2, 2014
Even if you can believe the WWF has a somewhat accurate total census of all animals world wide in 2014, who can believe they have anywhere near the same accuracy for a census in 1970? It is pure guess work.
And why pick 1970? Wouldn’t a trend over the past 10 or 15 years be more meaningful?
By their logic, if animals have declined 52% over the same time period that the WWF has grown by 10000%, then we must put an end to the WWF immediately before the animals vanish entirely.

September 30, 2014 8:42 am

1. Folks should read the report.
2. Willis’s argument is about extinction, this study is about decline. His argument ( while valid for extinctions) doesnt apply. There are no bodies. We eat them, for example. They never get born, for another example.
3. Anthony’s title is wrong. It’s not a baseless claim. We can argue with the evidence they present, but they
present an argument that has a basis.
There is a large pile of data here. Some of it will be wrong of course. But you test a claim by looking at the data.
“The LPI is calculated using trends in 10,380 populations of
over 3,038 vertebrate species (fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds
and mammals). These species groups have been comprehensively
researched and monitored by scientists and the general public for
many years, meaning that a lot of data is available to assess the state
of specific populations and their trends over time.”
“9. Where do the data used in the LPI come from?
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.”

richard
Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 30, 2014 9:45 am

I wonder how many species are growing in numbers.

bernie1815
Reply to  richard
September 30, 2014 6:08 pm

It is on P18 of the report.

Randy
Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 30, 2014 10:13 am

oppps, yep you are right, two different issues. Will have to do some reading later..

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 30, 2014 10:25 am

“We eat them, for example…”
But we didn’t global warm them to death which is perhaps the most important baseless claim.

RomanM
Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 30, 2014 4:45 pm

Mosh, you could have thought about it some more.
You were right about the lack of consideration of extinctions in the report. They themselves admit that counting extinctions is difficult. However, you might have asked yourself how they could calculate a meaningful “Living Planet Index” which is baselined on the year 1970.
How many populations/ species were included in the original baseline? Their figure 68 on page 145 0f the document (not the pdf) shows that from March 2006 to May 2014 their database increased from less than 2000 populations (think “temperature stations”) of 1313 species to about 10000 populations consisting of 3038 species. How did they “baseline” all of these recent entrants? Did they use “anomalies”? I doubt it.
Their index seems to consist of proportional changes in population size weighted by population size. Er, that would mean they are averaging changes (from what baseline for the newcomers?) in the counts of each population. Even assuming these counts are accurate, this approach biases the index to the changes in the most common species.
I can’t see a reasonable accurate solution to the problem without better information that they have indicated in the report. So I remain skeptical to the magnitudes of the numbers given in the report. You might consider that as well… 🙂

bernie1815
Reply to  RomanM
September 30, 2014 6:18 pm

Thanks Roman. That helps frame the issue. I was lust surprised at the absence of detailed illustrative examples to demonstrate how the index worked.

Taphonomic
September 30, 2014 8:47 am

After the recent brouhaha regarding the debunked claim that the purplish-blue banded snail (Rhachistia aldabrae) in the Seychelles was extinct due to global warming, one would think that catastrophists would be more careful with their claims.
But no, they double down on unsupported drivel.

Reply to  Taphonomic
September 30, 2014 8:54 am

The report was in the “Climate Change March” pipeline. It had to come out on schedule no matter the drivel content.

Stacey
September 30, 2014 9:52 am

Well if all these species are dying out then the WWF aint doing a very good job are they?
Moderated on the BBC for stating that WWF stood for World Wildlife fund for senior executives 🙂
Anyone have an idea how much their chairman gets?

richard
September 30, 2014 9:55 am

“Invasive alien species harm native species through predation, as is the case of feral cats killing smaller creatures. Cats have been introduced to approximately 180 000 islands worldwide, and have a significant impact – in Britain alone, cats are estimated to kill 25-29 million birds every year.
The American mink was originally brought to Europe for fur farming. Many animals have since escaped or been intentionally ‘liberated’, so the species is now common in the wild in many areas of Europe. It is now outcompeting its European cousin in many areas, and has had devastating effects on local wildlife, particularly ground-nesting birds
Amphibians around the world are in decline, in part due to the invasive chytrid fungus. Other alien species can spread diseases, as is the case with the red swamp crayfish, which carries the ‘crayfish plague’. The disease often proves deadly to European crayfish, as they have not evolved to cope with the disease”

richard
September 30, 2014 9:58 am

The Stephens Island wren or Lyall’s wren (Xenicus (Traversia) lyalli) was a nocturnal, flightless, insectivorous passerine belonging to the family of New Zealand wrens.[2][3] It was driven extinct, apparently by introduced cats, around 1900.[4]

tty
Reply to  richard
September 30, 2014 12:00 pm

However it once occurred all over New Zealand but was exterminated everywhere except on Stephens Island by the Polynesin Rat Rattus exulans introduced by the Maori c. 1280 AD.

richard
September 30, 2014 10:01 am

http://www.amphibianark.org/the-crisis/chytrid-fungus/
Why is Bd Important?
Bd is a very important chytrid fungus because it appears to be capable of infecting most of the world’s approximately 6,000 amphibian species and many of those species develop the disease chytridiomycosis which is linked to devastating population declines and species extinctions (Berger et al., 1998; Skerratt et al., 2007; Fisher et al., 2009).

phlogiston
September 30, 2014 10:05 am

Question for the WWF: Which of these two countries is the one using more fossil fuel energy?
http://tazmpictures.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/haiti-border.gif
Clue – its the one that can afford to preserve its environment. i.e. the one using MORE fossil fuel.
Plus – if it weren’t for the elevated CO2 in the atmosphere – the picture would be browner on both sides.

Reply to  phlogiston
September 30, 2014 10:18 am

Which one is listed as using more renewable energy?
The one on the left.
According to the UN, you get credit for burning trees, not for planting them.

Walt Allensworth
September 30, 2014 10:08 am

People are sooooooo gullible.
Perhaps it’s just ignorance.
we eat MOST of the domestic animals raised for meat production before they ever reach their first birthday.
Cows are an exception, generally going 1.5 years.
Pigs, goats, lambs, chickens, rabbits, and many many more food animals are all consumed far before they reach age one.
It is similar for wild / feral game animals hunted sustainably for food.
A bow hunting club I belong to removes roughly half of the deer from a 1 square mile area in the Maryland suburbs every single year, and every year the population bounces right back.

Leon Brozyna
September 30, 2014 10:28 am

High-income countries increase their biodiversity … you mean like how we’re now feeding our well-fed pets … cats and dogs … to wild coyotes.
And the coyotes have learned that a plump pet is easier to catch than a scrawny wild rabbit.
The WWF is gonna have a cow as the century progresses and Africa’s population explodes to match levels seen in Asia … and the farmers display an aversion to being fed to the native predators.

jono1066
September 30, 2014 11:06 am

even more fun is to read the 2012 report and cross check data with this one, the change is so vast we are headed for doom in the next 4 years if you follow the changes, let alone the next 50 . E except of course for those areas like the temperate areas that are really making the difference, except it blames us for making the rest worse.
meanwhile the elephants are doomed, and thats only the ones that are dead, the rest will take well over 40 years at the pretend rate of killing they load in there.
where they get, and how they compare water usage by industy with ecological footprint I dont know.

Louis
September 30, 2014 11:23 am

Some outlets, like the BBC, are twisting this report to make it sound as though we are rapidly losing “species.” Sentences like, “The global loss of species is even worse than previously thought…” make it sound like a mass extinction event is going on. The WWF report refers to a large decline in population, not a large decline in the number of species.

hunter
September 30, 2014 12:07 pm

This is as bogus as the Tibetan glacier phony report. But the NGO system is so corrupt that they are incentivized to fabricate and propogate untruths.

Gunga Din
September 30, 2014 12:56 pm

Well, if half the world’s wildlife is lost then maybe they should stop following the directions of the WWF.

September 30, 2014 1:18 pm

I hadn’t seen that link of Eschenbach’s before–definitely worth looking at. –AGF

R. de Haan
September 30, 2014 1:29 pm

WWF – TBS, read Total Bull Shit

M Courtney
September 30, 2014 2:06 pm

The article is confused.
The WWF report is about wildlife numbers. Where are the Corpses is about species extinction.
They are very different.
For example, the fish that have been fished will not leave their corpses. They have been eaten.
Is the WWF report rubbish? Probably.
But this article doesn’t prove that un any way.

September 30, 2014 2:34 pm

So if poverty is the cause how does keeping people poor by blocking cheap energy help? Meanwhile the same dead Enders continue blocking real strides in efficiency like diesel cars, hydro, fracking for gas and limited yield nuclear! The crazies are running the world and though there has been no warming they insist we all comply. I look fwd to the day when we can get back to conservation because we’re cheap instead of for a bad hoax.

Alx
September 30, 2014 2:44 pm

Lets not be so harsh, I mean the Roman empire can be argued went extinct due to high resource usage and being a high-income empire which somehow is tied to climate change centuries later because animals are dying… or something liket that.

Alx
September 30, 2014 2:48 pm

Recently have seen a bobcat and her cubs and wild turkeys in my backyard along with the annual deers and coyotes. I can unequivically state the wildlife around where I live is thriving. Which like the WWF report of course means nothing in terms of global wildlife populations.
Is this what science has become, someone comes up with some hokey math and then presumes to understand how the earths biology, geology, weather, chemistry, oceans, etc works.

n.n
September 30, 2014 3:03 pm

Inductive reasoning has degraded science to a philosophy. The abuse of statistical inference in the real world has consequences.
That said, around 2 million Americans, and around 50 million globally, are lost in abortion clinics annually. I cannot relate to people who empathize more with animal than human life.

James Abbott
September 30, 2014 3:44 pm

So the entire report is “baseless”.
What is that view derived from ?
The sceptic community appears to work largely on the basis that humans cannot possibly influence much on good old Earth and that any suggestion they do is extreme greenery.
This really is The Age of Stupid if serious reports based on substantial evidence are just dumped on the basis “we don’t like it”.

Editor
September 30, 2014 4:36 pm

Reading the Living Planet Report, I came across this interesting chart …

For birds, reptiles and amphibians, fishes, and mammals, half or slightly more are increasing, a bit less than half are decreasing, and a thin sliver are unchanged.
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? Did they expect them all to be increasing all the time?
In many places, there is indeed an underlying and ongoing problem of the loss of local biodiversity. It is not helped by this kind of hysteria.
w.

richard
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 1, 2014 2:49 am

A decline in species is probably more to do with introduction of a non- indigenous species that becomes dominant and crowds out the local species,
The grey squirrel in the Uk nearly wiped out the Red Squirrel.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbits_in_Australia
“Since their introduction from Europe in the 19th century, the effect of rabbits on the ecology of Australia has been devastating. They are suspected of being the most significant known factor in species loss in Australia”
I would imagine that with the destruction of plant loss comes the decline in insects, birds, animals.

David Riser
September 30, 2014 5:48 pm

So I read their report, dug into their stated methodology and came away with the following information. This study is based on 3038 vertebrate species in 10000+ populations from a total of 2337 data sources (not all peer reviewed or even scientific). There are more than 62839 vertebrate species in an even greater number of populations. The method they use is based on determining a trend over a minimum of two years and back tracking that trend to 1970 then forward to 2010. Then they weight the information based on the total number of species (62839) to represent what is happening throughout the globe. Interestingly enough the straight weighted report found 28% decline but with their new methodology they discovered it was worse than they thought at 52%. I think the very idea of taking a trend over a short time frame, extending it to 40 years and magically weighting it creates potential inaccuracies that in my mind invalidate the report. Their exact data and statistical calculations are not available for reproduction and without and independent look at their data I would say that their report does not pass a smell test.

thingadonta
Reply to  David Riser
September 30, 2014 7:39 pm

I suspect the initial 3038 species were specifically selected because these were stressed to begin with. Kind of like going to hospital, counting the sick people, and then applying this to all society. If they cant do this sort of faulty stuff in medicine, why does this pass muster in biology.?

Craig Hamilton
Reply to  David Riser
September 30, 2014 10:12 pm

If you were going to do a study of a species population count, would you not pick one that might get you published, or at least noticed? How many articles about healthy deer populations get written? This is not analysis, it is re-analysis of a selection of studies, databases and “grey literature” that are unconsciously biased by the researchers before they even start. So it is no wonder that they show declining numbers.

ldd
September 30, 2014 6:35 pm

Yawn, just some more so called CAGW “experts”. Master liars.
Aren’t these media orgs invested in these lies the ones with their pensions heavily into carbon stocks?
So glad we installed a wood stove and invested into a few acres of wooded property.

Old England
September 30, 2014 6:45 pm

Sounds like windmills and Google’s bird toaster are having a far worse effect than previously thought.

thingadonta
September 30, 2014 7:36 pm

Rainforests are a jungle.
The most prosperous and peaceful places on earth, for humans, tend to have low biodiversity. It’s the same reason we have shopping malls, clean hospitals, and urban jungles, keeps the nasties out.
Although we haven’t yet figured out a way to keep the tripe such as the above from the WWF being produced.

Dr. Strangelove
September 30, 2014 10:35 pm

WWF conveniently forget to mention that humans is only 0.019% of the live biomass of earth. There are more cows than humans by weight. 20 times more fishes than humans by weight. 7 times more domesticated animals than humans by weight. The increase in cow population in past 40 years is more than the decline in populations of wild animals. And live biomass production is 100 billion tons per year. Not even counting bacteria, which exceeds the biomass of plants, animals and humans combined.

Dr. Strangelove
September 30, 2014 10:59 pm

“We’re gradually destroying our planet’s ability to support our way of life,” said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF.
With 100 billion tons per year of live biomass production, it seems we’re not doing a good job in destroying life on earth. 7 times more domesticated animals than humans by weight. Guess who produced domesticated animals. 12,000 years ago there were no domesticated animals. We’re doing a good job in creating new life. If we are destroying our planet’s ability to support human life, why is human population still increasing? It should be decreasing. Death rate must be exceeding birth rate. The opposite is happening.

October 1, 2014 12:55 am

Reblogged this on Utopia – you are standing in it! and commented:
Most of these species extinctions bypassed the endangered species act.

Mike Tremblay
October 1, 2014 1:31 am

“There are approximately 4,500 species of mammals, 5,500 of amphibians, 8,000 reptiles, 10,000 birds and 30,000 marine species currently recognised by science, and that doesn’t include the untold numbers of invertebrates, bacteria and smaller beings (it is believed that there are 15000-20000 species of butterfly).
On average, 2 new species of fish are found every week, and it is thought that the jungles of the world contain many more amphibians and reptiles than have yet been named. Even now we still get a few new bird species discovered every year, and, amazingly, new species of mammal are still found occasionally.”
http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/*:newspecies&template=new_species#cr
“The Living Planet Report, WWF’s biennial flagship publication, measures trends in three major areas:
1- populations of more than ten thousand vertebrate species;
2- human ecological footprint, a measure of consumption of goods, greenhouse gas emissions; and
3- existing biocapacity, the amount of natural resources for producing food, freshwater, and sequestering carbon.” (Above)
According to the first quote there are more than 58,000 species of vertebrates currently recognized by science and the number is growing by at least 2 per week – if we only count fish.
According to the second quote, the WWF is relying on 10,000 species of vertebrates to back their claim that the populations have declined by 52%.
I leave it to everyone to draw their own conclusions as to whether the WWF claims are baseless or not.

Streetcred
October 1, 2014 1:41 am

~100% of all humanoids born in 1900 are no longer alive … just thought I’d put that up with the WWF dead animals claim. Truth is that they have been replaced with the following generations.

John Thompson
October 1, 2014 1:50 am

For Evan, from WWf website:
Key Facts
Common Names
Black rhino, hook-lipped rhinoceros; Rhinocéros noir (Fr); Rinoceronte negro (Sp)
Scientific Name
Diceros bicornis
Location
From Cameroon in the west to Kenya in the east, and south to South Africa
Status
Critically Endangered
More…
Population
4,880 individuals as of Feb 2013
.Hmmm, not very extinct then.

DDP
October 1, 2014 3:51 am

So let me get this right, half are decreasing and half are increasing? So little to no net loss of animal population overall. Sounds awfully similar to the regular ‘worse than we thought’ claim from the same NGO about Arctic summer ice loss when Antarctic ice is up all year around so no net ice loss globally.
At least with ice coverage, you can actually record it with satellite measurements over a period of time, anything regarding animal population is pure guesswork. And aren’t Individual species populations always in a state of flux as part of evolution anyway?
We still regularly get the WWF buying advertising slots on TV here in the UK (and by that I mean begging for annual profits) to make claims of the Polar Bear population being under threat. The WWF doesn’t care about facts, facts don’t get contributions.

Mickey Reno
October 1, 2014 6:14 am

I’m loathe to believe anything that the WWF says, and they only have their own hysterical tone to blame for this, in my humble opinion. That said, I want to be a good steward of the Earth, even as I accept that every human being in existence demands resources that stress the living systems of the planet. Just like in individual humans, stress is a natural, normal, expected part of living. Evolution could not diversify life forms into niches without stress and the natural responses to it. This report actually supports the notion that wealthier societies are more able to mitigate their own damage to wild systems, by making cultivation more productive, making animal husbandry more efficient. The WWF doesn’t care about trade-offs. They’re absolutist and fanatical, and have become more misanthropic over the past 50 years. That’s the trend that matters here.

Jbird
October 1, 2014 7:30 am

More estimates from models. Translation from the WWF: “The sky is falling! Send more money!”

October 1, 2014 4:56 pm

WWF.
Stole the title from World Wrestling Federation, who were a much more credible outfit with better actors.
The Official WWF is running a save the Polar Bears add campaign here on Canadian TV.
If you are so stunned as to give any credit to utterances from those phonies, please send your name address and bank account number to xxxxxxx…Cause you are ready for the sucker list.
Perhaps as the costs of this CAGW scheme come home to taxpayers they will develop a more reasonable attitude toward hysterical planet savers. Like the back of your hand or toe of boot.

matayaya
October 2, 2014 9:24 am

It is one thing to see all the commenters here with their political blinders on piling on the subject study with the knee jerk denial of the science, but it’s amazing that no one here seems to care one wit about environmental protection in general. Your descendants will curse you.

RACookPE1978
Editor
Reply to  matayaya
October 2, 2014 10:51 am

matayaya
October 2, 2014 at 9:24 am
It is one thing to see all the commenters here with their political blinders on piling on the subject study with the knee jerk denial of the science, but it’s amazing that no one here seems to care one wit about environmental protection in general. Your descendants will curse you.

No. You are wrong. Again.
See, it is the moral hypocrites and dictators within the world’s socialist left that are demanding policies in the name of their religion “ecology” that will force the immediate death of millions and the future death of billions due to energy starvation, illness, poor food, bad water, no sewage control and treatment, no irrigation, no fertilizer, no refrigeration or clean food storage, no roads, no canals and dams and drilling, no water, poor farms and no electricity …
See, it is YOU who forcing these deaths. And these dead will have voices to curse YOU for their deaths. It is those climate realists who see the benefits of enhanced carbon usage and the recent increase in CO2 levels that are allowing the 15 to 27 percent INCREASE in ALL plant life worldwide. Those climate realists will be praised, and it will be the so-called ecologists whom you are promoting with YOUR propaganda, your demands for more government money, and ever higher and higher government control over the lives of innocents that will be cursed. It is the innocents that YOU are demanding die who are the victims.
Well, and every person on earth who cries for freedom from YOUR oppression.
Innocents already dying in the UK at 25,000 per year due to YOUR energy policies.

Reply to  matayaya
October 2, 2014 7:42 pm

Bless you.
My descendants will only curse me if I surrender to the hypocrites and morons who are lost in this episode of mass hysteria.
Real environmental degradation as a result of foolish fads and crippling sanctions imposed on the poor living now are not environmental protection.
Try environmental racketeering.
Which you oh nameless one, seem to be an ardent supporter of.

matayaya
Reply to  john robertson
October 3, 2014 11:58 am

The poor developing countries emit the least pollution by far per capita and are those with the least amount of infrastructure to deal with climate impacts. So we are left with a double irony – the countries that contribute least to global warming are both the most impacted and the least able to adapt.
Those who try to delay climate action argue that “CO2 limits will hurt the poor”. This argument is usually code for “rich, developed countries should be able to pollute as much as they like”. This presents us with a moral hazard. If those who are emitting the most greenhouse gas are the least affected by direct global warming impacts, how shall we motivate them to change?
Avery Harden

Reply to  john robertson
October 3, 2014 12:07 pm

matayaya says:
The poor developing countries emit the least pollution by far per capita…
Let’s see those per capita numbers.
And re: “moral hazard”. Your moral hazard seems to stop at the point that lowering atmospheric CO2 would result in massive deaths from starvation.
There is really no doubt about that: If CO2 was lowered to 1990 levels, agricultural output would decline by 15% – 20%, substantially lowering the supply of food, and thus raising its cost. The poorest of the poor would have to do without… food.
How do you justify that ‘moral hazard’? Your holier-than-thou pontificating on the evil of CO2 ignores the fact that there has been no global harm identified from its rise. Thus, CO2 is ‘harmless’. But it would not be harmless to lower it. People would die pretty excruciating deaths as a result.
I think your moral compass is broken.

matayaya
Reply to  dbstealey
October 3, 2014 12:55 pm

So it’s the Gish Gallop now. Not worth trying to unpack your nonsense.

Reply to  john robertson
October 3, 2014 5:30 pm

matayaya,
So you just made it up. As I suspected.
Typical alarmist response. When you can’t answer, you leave in a puff of pixels like a squid escaping danger…

matayaya
Reply to  dbstealey
October 7, 2014 12:31 pm

db, so what’s the problem with my per capita comment? US is double Europe and about six times China. The point is obvious. You seem to waste a lot of time and energy on red meat stuff. I bet you missed the story today about the Nobel Prize and LED technology. LED bulbs produce four times the light of a fluorescent bulb and nearly 20 times the light of a standard incandescent bulb. LED bulbs are also more durable than either fluorescent bulbs, lasting 10 times as long, or incandescent bulbs, lasting 100 times as long. Lighting is about 25 percent of our energy use. The price continues to fall. You all are so concerned about poor people in the developing world, LED and the grid less PV will help a lot more than the central controlled coal burning you seem to promote.

Reply to  john robertson
October 10, 2014 11:53 am

matayaya says:
what’s the problem…?
I asked you to provide a cite to that statement, but you went off on another tangent. Before that, you wrote:
The poor developing countries emit the least pollution by far
Prove it.

matayaya
Reply to  dbstealey
October 11, 2014 12:02 pm

Geez, you too lazy to click google. The World Bank and others have the numbers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_energy_consumption_per_capita

Reply to  john robertson
October 12, 2014 12:54 pm

matayaya,
China emits far more than anyone. But because of their immense population, their per capita numbers are lower.
And as you can see, U.S. emissions are declining.

matayaya
Reply to  dbstealey
October 13, 2014 9:08 am

That’s obvious. Point still stands, the average American consumes/emits twice what the average European and six or seven times the average Chinese.
Keep in mind also that we have out sourced much of our CO2 emissions to China that manufactures so much of what we consume. Bottom line, we need to continue to become more efficient and consume less, and China needs to burn less coal in the short term and eventually lower their emissions. China is choking on coal right now and know they need to clean their skies now for the health of their people today. It is only natural that people aspire to a middle class life and they need energy to do so.
It must be us Americans, the exceptional nation, that leads the way. If we don’t set the example, the others won’t make as much of an effort. The responsibility is ours to lead as well because historically, since the beginning of the industrial revolution, most of the man emitted green house gases in the atmosphere are from the U.S.. China’s emission only began in earnest only 25 years ago.

Reply to  matayaya
October 3, 2014 9:22 am

matayaya
It is amazing that you know so much about every poster here. What is not amazing is your total ignorance of science.

milodonharlani
Reply to  philjourdan
October 11, 2014 12:38 pm

matayaya
October 11, 2014 at 12:02 pm
Your link is for energy consumption per capita, not for pollution.

matayaya
Reply to  milodonharlani
October 12, 2014 6:36 am

Google CO2 emissions per country, same thing.

Reply to  philjourdan
October 12, 2014 1:01 pm

matayaya,
China has surpassed the U.S. But you have never complained about them.

milodonharlani
Reply to  philjourdan
October 12, 2014 8:19 pm

matayaya
October 12, 2014 at 6:36 am
CO2 is not pollution. It is plant food & so far the increase in its atmospheric content has been a very good thing. Besides which, per capita energy consumption & CO2 aren’t the same thing. The US releases relatively less CO2 per unit of energy than China because we rely more heavily on natural gas.
You have a lot to learn. Everything, in fact.

October 2, 2014 10:19 am

@Steve B 9/30 at 5:32 am
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 agree, it sounds high.
This raises the question of how much of the supposed loss of wildlife is the direct result of pro-environmental policies supported by the likes of the WWF?
There is a TED talk by Allen Savory: How Can Deserts Turn Into Grasslands? In it, Savory recounts a terrible mistake he made: [Note 1]

“[Desertification] is mostly caused by livestock. Everyone knows this, says Savory. Scientists have known it for decades. Livestock damage the land, leading to dry ground, leading to desert. This makes sense, and turns out to be quite wrong.
Allan Savory recommended the killing of 40,000 elephants and other pachyderms, in order to “save” the grasslands of the new African National Parks. But he found out the problem only got worse. It was the wrong solution. The proper course is to promote LARGER herds, greater density of foraging animals and carnivores, that migrate to keep from eating grass soiled by their own dung. — [extracted from a longer comment at What the IPCC Left out…. 4/3/14 9:55am

The Green camp likes biofuels. As other people have mentioned, the clearing of, jungle, forests, and grasslands so that biofuels can be planted must be add to that reported loss in wildlife mass. Solar farm bird fryers. Unlimited hunting license granted to wind farms.
I don’t put any stock in the WWF report. No matter how good their census number are for 2010, their 1970 baseline census figures are a fiction. People have admitted that polar bear population changes were pure guesswork. If you cannot get the populations right for the largest four-footed carnivore in 20 million km^2 of tree-less tundra, what prayer do you have of getting right the census for whales, kudu, sparrows and salmon?
Besides the inaccuracies unavoidable in WWF’s census, when it comes to actions causing the loss of wildlife, the hands of groups like WWF are far from clean.
[Note 1: WUWT has a post of the Savory TED talk at A bridge in the climate debate – How to green the world’s deserts and reverse climate change WUWT March 8, 2013 ]

zenrebok
October 4, 2014 3:40 pm

Down in New Zealand, we have lost a lot of bird species, however, to put it in perspective, many were unique niche species. How many small populations, from a compact niche, have shrugged off their mortal coil? with or without human encroachment – or as we pro-humans call it, survival with perks. Specialist adaptation breeds in weakness, there are Hummingbirds now locked into a relationship with a single flower, that goes and so do they.
There are specialist Climate Scientists, locked into a relationship with public funding, that goes and so do they.
Should we go all out to save these small population/compact niche species? Or find ways to preserve their genes in that most hated of preservation mechanisms, known as a zoo.
Nature killed, or will kill, all species on Earth eventually, possibly us, but that’s a 50/50 bet.

inka
October 4, 2014 10:36 pm

i am really wondering if this complex data could be simply put in percentage of 50% why dont they name the species directly

Keitho
Editor
October 7, 2014 8:36 am

I have just read this extremely well done deconstruction of the money grubbing WWF report.
http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2014-10-06-wwf-alarmism-raises-even-green-eyebrows/#.VDQGZb4YI20
Every now and then the old media gets something sort of right.

Editor
October 11, 2014 9:33 am

Bromley October 11, 2014 at 1:28 am Edit

Hello Willis, settle down haha no need for caps lock, I think you were confused when you read my comments.

Quite possibly, I’ve been confused more than once.

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.

I’m sorry, but you know this how? The reality is, if you measure accurately enough, almost no populations are stable. They are either increasing or decreasing, and stability is unusual in nature. The situation is even worse in the ocean than on the land, with perfectly healthy populations undergoing wild swings in population all of the time.
Now, you’ve made a claim (without citations or evidence) that healthy = stable. Any animal population biologist will tell you that’s a wild oversimplification. In fact, population swings are the norm. For example, round where I live, the population of rabbits increased over the last few years. This year, the population of foxes is up, and the rabbit population is down.
Does this mean that the local rabbit and fox populations are both not healthy, as you claim?
Absolutely not. It merely reflects the reality of animal populations, which is that on any given day most of them are either increasing or decreasing, but few of them are steady … as the graphic shows.
Regards,
w.

Bromley
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
October 12, 2014 7:15 pm

Hey Willis,
I’m not gonna lie, when you were typing in caps lock, I just assumed you were an idiot. I was wrong, and I thank you for this well thought response.
You’re actually 100% right, animal populations are constantly fluctuating, I was being overly simplistic. My reason for this is because over a span of 40 years, these fluctuations will even out and the numbers should appear stable.
Now, I’m assuming your example involved two indigenous species because if one of them was introduced then its not a very good example of a stable ecosystem.
In a stable ecosystem, the prey numbers and predator numbers should grow and decline in tandem with the predator numbers typically lagging a year or two behind. Lets say it takes roughly 10 rabbits for 1 fox. So, over several years you’ll see the number of rabbits go something like
100 to 200 to 300 to 100 to 200 to 300 to 100,
and in that same span the fox numbers will be something like
30 to 10 to 20 to 30 to 10 to 20 to 30
That’s stable fluctuation, that’s a healthy ecosystem.
Think of it like the tide, it rises and falls but it stays within its natural bounds. In the extremely long term, high tide and low tide may see a net increase or decrease but this change should be negligible over a 40 year span.
The majority of animals once sexually mature procreate at least once a year and many of them have short lifespans, so we can actually see this natural ebb and flow in population numbers several times within the span of 40 years.
So, since animal biologists are obviously aware of the natural fluctuations of animal populations, we should still expect the majority of that graph to be blue because this kind of fluctuation is a stable fluctuation, know what I mean?
Instead, we see a graph that shows that a lot of animal populations are not exhibiting this typical fluctuation, they are actually seeing a net decrease or increase. Fluctuation is normal, but a net gain or decrease in total numbers beyond the bounds of typical fluctuation is concerning. It’s illustrative of a general trend towards a mass extinction in the not too distant future. That is to say, its not good.

markl
Reply to  Bromley
October 12, 2014 7:51 pm

“So, since animal biologists are obviously aware of the natural fluctuations of animal populations, we should still expect the majority of that graph to be blue because this kind of fluctuation is a stable fluctuation, know what I mean? Instead, we see a graph that shows that a lot of animal populations are not exhibiting this typical fluctuation, they are actually seeing a net decrease or increase. Fluctuation is normal, but a net gain or decrease in total numbers beyond the bounds of typical fluctuation is concerning. It’s illustrative of a general trend towards a mass extinction in the not too distant future. That is to say, its not good.”
For a graph that doesn’t explain anything other than generalities you sure went off the deep end. “Mass extinction in the not too distant future”? Am I missing the sarc?

Bromley
Reply to  Bromley
October 12, 2014 8:51 pm

Hey Markl, I don’t think I understand what you mean. I’m not being sarcastic, that’s what the graph shows. If roughly half of mammals are declining then, roughly half, will eventually disappear, resulting in less biodiversity.
I’m assuming someone involved with creating this graph has at least studied biology as much as I have, probably more, so they would consider typical fluctuation as a stable population. That sliver of blue on the graph, according to this study, are the only animal populations that are exhibiting healthy or typical fluctuations, that is to say, they are stable populations. Having a general or net decline and incline in roughly half of the animal population is a concerning statistic, that will eventually lead to mass extinction for the half that is decreasing. It makes sense, think of it as the inverse of the problem with the human population. The human population grows more in a year nowadays than it did in a decade 100 years ago.
Likewise, this is a problem that will only compound over time, the greater the disparity between the growing and declining numbers, the faster they will grow and decline. This kind of instability will eventually result in mass extinction. Will it be in 40 years or 200 years? I don’t know, but I’m sure there’s a statistician that can break down the numbers and give us a reasonable forecast. Luckily for me, I’ll be dead by the time it happens. As for my kids, well, it looks like they’re gonna see some rapid and wondrous changes but I don’t think I envy them. It will surely be elucidating but it may also be horrifying.

Reply to  Bromley
October 12, 2014 9:59 pm

Bromley October 12, 2014 at 7:15 pm

So, since animal biologists are obviously aware of the natural fluctuations of animal populations, we should still expect the majority of that graph to be blue because this kind of fluctuation is a stable fluctuation, know what I mean?
Instead, we see a graph that shows that a lot of animal populations are not exhibiting this typical fluctuation, they are actually seeing a net decrease or increase. Fluctuation is normal, but a net gain or decrease in total numbers beyond the bounds of typical fluctuation is concerning. It’s illustrative of a general trend towards a mass extinction in the not too distant future. That is to say, its not good.

I don’t read the graph the way you claim, nor do I think that the authors meant it that way..
“Declining” means if you measure now its less than when you measured the first time, and “Increasing” means the opposite. What other meaning could they have? So no, I don’t expect the blue section to be of any great size.
In any case, no matter how you read it there are slightly more species increasing than decreasing. Surely you can’t take that as a cause for alarm, no matter how they’ve drawn the lines?
All the best,
w.

Bromley
Reply to  Bromley
October 13, 2014 12:02 am

I would assume and hope that the authors meant it that way. Otherwise, the graph wouldn’t really be indicative of anything. As you said, animal biologists know all about animal population fluctuation.
Umm, yeah, I think it is a little alarming, well, concerning anyway. That said, I don’t want to sound like an alarmist haha. But ultimately, for biodiversity to continue there needs to be a variety of animal species, right? Personally, I think that, for all we know, there is still a lot that we don’t, and the more species that can survive and thrive into the future, the more we can discover about the world and ourselves. For that to continue, the numbers within individual species must never get too big (because they’ll choke out niche species) nor too small (because they’ll be susceptible to death by disease or loss of niche by introduced species).
Someone on this message board was talking about how the biggest losses are occuring within niche species. Another concern that I have (and I haven’t seen any articles addressing this) is, if the half of species that are growing in numbers happen to be the species that can thrive on the periphery of civilization (pidgeons, crows, raccoons, deer, rats, mice, squirrels, etc) while animals that can’t are the ones who are declining then how will the trends of increase and decrease ever change? If that’s happens to be the case, then that would only make this graph more concerning because the likelihood of the declining species ever recovering would be extremely small.