Global habitats destruction 'behind 60% drop in wildlife since 1970'

A report that the destruction of natural habitats is the biggest cause of the 'loss of 60 per cent of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles across the globe since 1970' features in today's newspaper round-up.

The Guardian reports that a "new estimate of the massacre of wildlife is made in a major report produced by WWF and involving 59 scientists from across the globe". The paper says that the report finds "that the vast and growing consumption of food and resources by the global population is destroying the web of life, billions of years in the making, upon which human society ultimately depends for clean air, water and everything else". The biggest cause of wildlife losses is the destruction of natural habitats, much of it to create farmland, the paper says.

An article in The Times  (subscription) on the same topic says that "vast tracts of wildlife habitat had been lost to palm oil and soy plantations and the construction of dams, mines and roads". The report says that "a ‘global deal’ similar to the Paris agreement to tackle climate change is needed to protect animals".

The Times reports that "India has announced plans to construct a railway line up into the foothills of the Himalayas, with pressurised cabins, doctors and possibly even oxygen masks to fight the effects of altitude". The paper says that the line "will reach 5,360m (17,600ft) above sea level on its way to the Himalayan hill station of Leh, making it the world’s highest, and is expected to cost up to £8 billion, a mammoth undertaking for Indian Railways".

The Times reports that a shale gas fracking company "is calling for the safety limits on earthquakes caused by its activity to be relaxed after it was forced to stop work because of a small tremor for the second time in four days". The paper says that "Cuadrilla caused what is described as a ‘microseismic event’ measuring 1.1 on the Richter scale at Preston New Road in Lancashire yesterday, the strongest of 27 tremors since it resumed fracking two weeks ago."

London’s Evening Standard reports that a duke is facing a "peasants’ revolt" over plans to build flats on land used as allotments for more than 100 years. The paper says that "Ralph Percy, the 12th Duke of Northumberland, is battling for permission to build 119 flats and eight houses on the site adjacent to Grade I-listed Syon House in Isleworth. His proposals were blocked by planning chiefs in 2016, but he has since appealed Hounslow council’s decision."

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