New data from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) have shown that global populations of fish, reptiles, birds, mammals and amphibians declined by 58 percent on average between 1970 and 2012.
This decline could steepen to 67 percent by the end of the decade, according to the newest edition of the WWF's Living Planet Report. The WWF said its report made use of the ZSL's Living Planet Index in order to keep abreast of "trends in wildlife abundance."
"For the first time since the demise of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, we face a global mass extinction of wildlife," Mike Barrett, WWF-UK's director of science and policy, said in a statement.
"We ignore the decline of other species at our peril – for they are the barometer that reveals our impact on the world that sustains us," Barrett added. "Humanity's misuse of natural resources is threatening habitats, pushing irreplaceable species to the brink and threatening the stability of our climate."