May 17 2008

The population of the world’s wildlife declined by 27% between 1970 and 2005.

That is the headline. It refers to the average drop in the size of the populations of about 1,500 animal species that have been tracked by the Zoological Society of London for the WWF, which was once called the World Wildlife Fund – which says more in fewer syllables. The research is published in the WWF’s Living Planet Index, which you can download here.

1,500 is a small number and only 4,000 population clusters in total were tracked. Still, the headline may be justified. I presume that the clusters are extant, but reduced, or have some dwindled to zero and are there extinctions within the 1,500?

Thomas Stamford Raffles, whom we have already met in Singapore and in Java, was one of the founders of the Zoological Society in 1826. He was its first President, but died of apoplexy immediately after assuming office. The Society established the Zoological Gardens in Regent’s Park – London Zoo – in 1828.

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