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Wildlife populations 'utilised' by humans in alarming decline
Among the worst affected species were marine populations from Asia-Pacific.
Study reveals current levels of exploitation may be unsustainable.

Wildlife populations used by humans for food, medicine and livelihoods are declining at a much faster rate than those that are not, according to new research.

The global study led by Zoological Society London (ZSL) found that populations of mammals, birds and fish 'utilised' by humans for fishing or hunting declined by 50 per cent on average between 1970 and 2016. 

Researchers warn that if this decreasing trend continues, the plethora of pressures will become entirely unsustainable, threatening not only the existence of valuable species but also the lives of millions of local people who rely on them. 

Louise McRae, lead author and ZSL researcher, said: “We know that the human use of wildlife can pose a threat to biodiversity if done unsustainably, but this is the first time we have quantified these impacts at the global scale. It is significant because not only are we losing biodiversity at an alarming rate, many people around the world also rely directly on wildlife for their livelihoods.

“The declines revealed in our study show that current levels of exploitation of wildlife may be unsustainable, but where management strategies are in place, dual benefits can be seen for both wildlife and people, so there are solutions that work.”

The study, published in One Earth, used data from scientific papers and reports of 2,944 species from seven continents - 1,348 of which were highlighted as 'utilised' by humans for hunting, fishing or collecting. 

Among the worst affected species are those from tropical regions in Africa, terrestrial and freshwater species in the Americas, and marine populations from Asia-Pacific.

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World Bee Day celebrations begin

News Story 1
 Today (20 May) marks the fifth annual World Bee Day, which raises awareness of the importance of bees and pollinators to people and the planet. Observed on the anniversary of pioneering Slovenian beekeeper Anton Jana's birthday, this year's celebration is themed: 'Bee Engaged: Celebrating the diversity of bees and beekeeping systems'.

Organisations and people celebrating the day will raise awareness of the accelerated decline in pollinator diversity, and highlight the importance of sustainable beekeeping systems and a wide variety of bees. Slovenia, the initiator of World Bee Day, will be focusing on teaching young people about the significance of pollinators. 

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News Shorts
Further avian flu cases confirmed

Three cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 have been confirmed in recent days, bringing the total number of cases in England to 98.

On Thursday, the APHA confirmed two cases of HPAI H5N1 near Redgrave, Mid Suffolk and Market Weston, West Suffolk. A case H5N1 was also confirmed in poultry at a premises near Southwell, Newark and Sherwood, Nottinghamshire.

Protection and surveillance zones are in place around the affected premises. Further details are available at gov.uk