WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The report’s Living Planet Index is based on data from more than 14,000 populations of 3,706 species from around the world.
"Populations of vertebrate animals — such as mammals, birds and fish — have declined by 58 percent between 1970 and 2012," the report stated on Wednesday.
The largest drop was in freshwater species, which fell on average 81 percent in that time period, the report said.
Additionally, the data showed a 38 percent decline in terrestrial populations and a 36 percent drop in maritime populations.
The World Wildlife Fund attributed the dramatic decline to climate change, habitat loss, the impact of agriculture on animals systems, and species overexploitation, such as through poaching and hunting.