Two out of ten threatened species are in Brazil; 70% of wildlife has disappeared in 50 years

One million species of plants and animals are threatened with extinction around the globe and up to 2.5% of mammals, reptiles, birds, fish and amphibians have already become extinct (Ricardo Oliveira/CENARIUM MAGAZINE)
Iury Lima – from Cenarium Magazine

VILHENA (RO) – Brazil, home of the largest tropical forest in the world, the Amazon, was listed as one of the countries that is losing the most natural habitats and, consequently, part of its biodiversity. Two out of every 10 threatened species on the planet are found in Brazilian biomes. The data are from the Living Planet report, updated every two years by the WWF network, which brings together research done around the world monitoring fauna. 

The study, which analyzed 32 thousand animal populations of more than 5 thousand species, pointed out that 69% of the abundance of wildlife disappeared from the face of the Earth in less than half a century, between 1970 and 2018. The largest decline occurred in Latin America: 94%.

Animals considered to be symbols of Brazilian fauna are among the most threatened (Ricardo Oliveira/Cenarium Magazine)

Latin America on top

The report warns about a path that may have no turning back. Animals considered to be symbols of Brazilian fauna, such as the pink river dolphin in the Amazon, the jaguar, the lizards of the Caatinga and the coral reefs of the Northeast are precisely among the species most threatened by water contamination and changes in soil use: illegal mining, deforestation and the transformation of forest into pasture by the trail of fire, in addition to the effects of the climate crisis.


WWF-Brazil’s Science Manager, Mariana Napolitano says that the main reason for the loss of species is deforestation and the conversion of natural habitats. She also explains why the disappearance of fauna is greater in Latin America. 

“As the data from the report starts to be measured from the 1970s, what it is showing is that there are some regions, especially in Latin America, where the deforestation frontier, the degradation frontier, is more active today. So, in North America, in Europe, this degradation already happened before the 1970s. That’s why in these regions, there isn’t such an intense reduction”, the specialist detailed to CENARIUM MAGAZINE.

After South America, which leads the ranking, comes Africa, with a 66% loss of the monitored species populations, besides part of Asia, where 55% of the wildlife has disappeared. 

Loss of wildlife

RegionWildlife reduction (between 1970 and 2018)
Latin America94%
Asia and Pacific55%
North America20%
Europe and Central Asia18%
Source: Living Planet Report/WWF

Wasted potential

From the previous survey to date, 11 thousand new populations of 838 new species were included, 575 of which were from Brazil. Around 3.2 thousand wildlife populations were monitored in the country, considered to be one of the worst in the conservation of natural habitats.

“We regret these results, but for those who are from the area or depend on these natural assets for their own survival, such as the indigenous and traditional populations, this is nothing new”, says the environmentalist and coordinator of the “Health and Happiness Project”, Caetano Scannavino, in an interview to CENARIUM MAGAZINE. He points out that there has never been a lack of warnings about the seriousness of the problem and that, “instead of reducing environmental degradation, what has been happening is the opposite”

Deforestation is the main cause of the disappearance of species, according to WWF-Brazil (Ricardo Oliveira/CENARIUM MAGAZINE)

The result of this problem that goes beyond the Brazilian biomes is that 1 million species of plants and animals are threatened with extinction around the globe and up to 2.5% of mammals, reptiles, birds, fish and amphibians have already been extinct. 

“A previous study, also by WWF, pointed out a new species being discovered by science every two days, only in the Amazon (…) Suddenly, you have the cure for Covid-19, the cure for cancer; you have natural active ingredients that may even yield dividends or inputs for the Pharmaceutical Industry Made in Brazil”, Scannavino defends.

For environmentalist Caetano Scannavino we are heading “towards an apocalypse” (Reproduction)

No animals, no life

In times of denialism, especially on the environmental issue, it must be said that with the disappearance of the forest, animals, and natural resources, so will mankind. The Living Planet Report estimates that if the global temperature continues to rise and increases by 2.0°, less than 1% of warm water corals will survive. It also reinforces that the impacts on the soil, very much linked to environmental crime, continue as the most devastating factor for ecosystems, affecting even human life. It is code red for animals and people.

“We are not just losing species or having these populations reduced, we are losing quality of life. When we say that the Amazon dolphin is highly impacted, whether by dams or by mercury contamination, we mean that this contamination also happens because of illegal mining in the riverside populations that are highly dependent on fish”, Mariana Napolitano emphasized. “This biodiversity crisis is also strongly related to the crisis in our quality of life, our well-being, our health”, she added.

WWF-Brazil’s Science Manager, Mariana Napolitano says that, despite the threat, it is possible to reverse the situation (Aline Inagaki/Reproduction)

“If it continues like this, we are heading for an apocalypse (…) So, it is necessary to rethink this occupation model, especially in our forest areas, in the biomes, in the Cerrado, in the Amazon. Even because it [land use] has been benefiting a few, but leaving the bill and the damage for everyone to pay, including the next generations”, warned Caetano Scannavino.

For Napolitano, there is still hope. “At the same time that this is a great threat, we have a great opportunity to change our means of production, strengthen our conservation actions and guarantee the conservation of many species”, concluded the WWF-Brazil Science Manager. 


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