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Global wildlife populations down by an average of nearly 70% in last 50 years: Living Planet Index

It’s clear that wildlife is suffering mightily on our planet, but scientists don’t know exactly how much. A comprehensive figure is exceedingly hard to determine. Counting wild animals — on land and at sea, from gnats to whales — is no small feat. Most countries lack national monitoring systems.

One of the most ambitious efforts to fill this void is published every two years. Known as the Living Planet Index, it’s a collaboration between two major conservation organizations, the World Wide Fund for Nature and the Zoological Society of London. But the report has repeatedly resulted in inaccurate headlines when journalists misinterpreted or overstated its results.

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