Humans Threatening One Million Species With Extinction

A third of all marine mammals, including seals, whales, manatees, sea otters and polar bears are at risk

Humans are killing polar bears
Humans are killing off polar bears and other marine life. (Jens Kalaene/ Getty)
picture alliance via Getty Image

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An eighth of the world’s species are currently being threatened with extinction by humans a new, landmark assessment of global nature loss revealed Monday.

The report — a combined effort of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), a U.N. committee written by 145 experts from 50 countries — details a bleak outlook for one million of the Earth’s eight million species that are being threatened by an ever-growing human population, fueled by insatiable natural resource use, CNN reported.

The species are dying off because people are shrinking their habitats, exploiting the world’s shared natural resources, causing climate change and polluting the planet. These factors are threatening more then 40 percent of the world’s amphibians, 33 percent of its coral reefs and more than a third of all marine mammals, like seals, whales, manatees, sea otters and polar bears.

“The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever,” said Sir Robert Watson, IPBES chair, adding that “transformative change’ is needed to save the planet.

This report was released six months after the U.N. declared that humanity has less than 12 years to reverse the damage it’s still doing to the planet in order to avoid catastrophic levels of global warming.

“[There is] very little of the planet left that has not been significantly altered by us,” Sandra Diaz, co-author of the report and professor of ecology at the University of Córdoba, told CNN. “We need to act as stewards for life on Earth.”

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