Context: The population of vertebrate species declined by around 68 per cent between 1970 and 2016, said the biannual Living Planet Report 2020 released by international non-profit World Wide Fund for Nature.


  • The Living Planet Index (LPI) — a measure of the state of the world’s biological diversity based on population trends of vertebrate species in terrestrial, freshwater and marine habitats — was used by the report to calculate this decline. 
  • 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'.
  • Wildlife populations in freshwater habitats suffered a decline of 84 per cent, equivalent to four per cent per year, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean, the index showed.
  • An example in the form of the population of the Chinese sturgeon — a species of fish found in the country’s Yangtze river — was cited by the report. 
  • The population of this fish declined by 97 per cent between 1982 and 2015 because of the damming of the river’s waterway, the report said.
  • Megafauna — or bigger species in terms of size — were more vulnerable because they were subjected to intense anthropogenic threats and overexploitation, the report pointed out. 

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

  • It is an international organization committed to conservation of the environment.
  • Mission:
  • to conserve the world’s biological diversity, 
  • to ensure that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and 
  • to promote the reduction of pollution and of wasteful consumption.
  • The WWF provides money for conservation initiatives around the world. 
  • These include programs focused on individual species, forests, and freshwater and marine issues as well as climate change and responsible international trade.
  • The group has also been involved in efforts to provide a safe and sustainable habitat for the world’s peoples, both urban and rural, including clean water, clean air, healthful food, and rewarding recreation areas. 
  • Among the WWF’s notable achievements is its use of debt-for-nature swaps, in which an organization buys some of a country’s foreign debt at a discount, converts the money to local currency, and then uses it to finance conservation efforts. 
  • The WWF’s first successful debt-for-nature swap took place in 1987 in Ecuador.
  • The organization’s logo is a distinctive panda.