James Borrell is a biodiversity scientist and science communicator researching how people and nature can adapt to environmental change.

A World Without Wildlife? An interview on Al Jazeera

As many conservationists will be aware, the recent Living Planet Report published by the WWF (not the wrestling folks) makes depressing reading.

It’s very important too.. so we should wake up and take note of their findings.

“The LPI has been adopted by the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) as an indicator of progress towards its 2011-2020 target to ‘take effective and urgent action to halt the loss of biodiversity’.”

Key points from Living Planet Index 2014:

  • Records of 3168 vertebrate species from 14882 populations.
  • A 52% decline between 1970 and 2010
  • Biodiversity is declining in both temperate and tropical regions, but the decline is greater in the tropics.
  • Latin America shows the most dramatic decline – a fall of 83%.
  • Freshwater species shows an average decline of 76%.
  • The primary threat is exploitation, followed by habitat degradation/change.

So you might be forgiven for thinking that most scientists were in the pub drowning their sorrows, or browsing job websites for a career change. That, in my opinion, couldn’t be wider from the mark – surprisingly the people I’ve spoken too have all been pretty upbeat!

Importantly, this report has actually generated a fair amount of media attention. This week, I was invited to join the discussion on Al Jazeera along with Carlos Drews of the WWFKrithi Karanth of the WCS and Paul Jepson of Oxford Uni. It was great fun and encouraging to see conservation receiving so much interest. Someone even told me they saw it in Australia! You can watch the full discussion here.