For years now humans and wildlife have been coexisting on this planet. But over the recent years, we humans have been depleting the environment of its natural resources. This year too, we went to the extent of causing some irreparable damage to our environment.
1. 60% of the wildlife population has been wiped out from the planet.
The Living Planet Index released by the WWF suggested that the wildlife populations fell by 60% between 1970 and 2014. Apart from poaching, humans have also encroached upon 75% of the land on Earth leaving no space for the animals to survive.
2. The Sumatran rhino, the world's smallest rhinoceros, is on the brink of extinction.
Once the pride and joy of South-East Asia, the number of Sumatran rhinos has drastically reduced to less than 80. With widespread habitat loss and fragmentation, these animals are not able to breed in the wild, thus decreasing their numbers.
3. A garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean has stretched to almost twice the size of France.
We humans haven't even spared the world's oceans. There's a mass of floating rubbish in the Pacific Ocean weighing around 87,000 tons that consists of more than 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic.
4. Giraffes are at the risk of extinction.
According to a report by IUCN, there has been a 40% decline in the global population of giraffes in the last three decades. Once again, poaching and habitat loss are the major reasons behind this.
5. African elephants are evolving without tusks due to ruthless poaching.
An increasing number of African elephants are now born tuskless. They have developed this trait to ensure their survival in a world where they are killed for ivory. Tusks help these animals to create a habitat for themselves and with no tusks they are left with no place to live.
6. At the rate we are going, it will take the earth 7 million years to recover the species we kill in the next 50 years.
Such is the rate of destruction we are causing to our planet that it will take millions of years to recover from the damage. Moreover, if we humans continue at the same rate, then the time isn't far when the earth will face its sixth mass extinction, and this time humans will be responsible for it.
7. Gujarat's Gir forest witnessed mass lion deaths this year.
As many as 21 lions were found dead in the Gir forest within a span of 18 days. An inquiry into the matter revealed that some disease may have been the reason behind their deaths. But overall, it speaks badly of the conservation measures we have been taking for our wildlife.
8. Sahara, the world's largest desert witnessed snowfall this year.
One of the hottest places in the world received snowfall this year because of extreme weather conditions. This has been happening for the last three years and if it continues, it is a matter of grave concern for our planet.
9. The Eastern puma was officially declared extinct.
The big cats which once roamed the North American landscape, have now been officially declared extinct by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Eastern Puma comes in the category of large carnivorous animals and their extinction is a warning sign for our ecosystem.
10. Sudan, the world's last male Northern White Rhino died this year.
White rhino's horns fetch quite high prices in the black market. Incessant poaching has led to a sharp decrease in the number of white rhinos in the world. With the death of the last male white rhino, the existence of the species will come to an end.
11. Whales were washed ashore and it was found that they died due to ingestion of large amounts of plastics.
In several incidents, whales were found lying dead on the shores. A sperm whale was found dead in Indonesia with 6 kgs of plastic in its stomach. In another incident, a pilot whale died in Southern Thailand after ingesting 80 plastic bags. Plastic pollution has been one of the major causes of death in marine organisms.
It is high time we take the right action towards saving earth from major environmental issues. If ignored today, these ill effects are sure to endanger our existence in the near future.