12 Oct 2022


What is the Living Planet Report? 

Since 1998, WWF has produced the Living Planet Report every two years - a global health check for nature.

The report is based on several measures, the biggest being the Living Planet Index. Experts measure changes in animal population numbers and use this data to build the Living Planet Index - a system that helps to understand the health of ecosystems worldwide.

With input from organisations and researchers around the globe, including WWF-Australia’s Governor, Associate Professor Bradley Moggridge, the 2022 Living Planet Report gives an updated insight into what threats face nature and what this could mean for humans.

What did the 2022 report find?

WWF’s 2022 Living Planet Report has revealed a sobering reality on the state of our planet.

Biodiversity around the world is crashing at a startling rate, with global wildlife populations diminishing by 69% in the last 48 years. Globally sharks and rays have faced a 71% drop in numbers over the last 50 years due to the growing scale of external threats, including unsustainable fishing practices.

Landuse change is the most dominant challenge facing wildlife and their homes. It destroys and fragments nature across all habitats, on land, in the ocean or in freshwater. Climate change follows as the second leading threat to nature, and if we don’t limit global warming to 1.5°C, it’s likely to develop into the greatest challenge facing our planet.

Help turn the tide on Australia’s extinction crisis and urge our leaders to commit to stronger protection for our wildlife and the places they call home.

Australian sea lion swimming in the ocean
© Shutterstock / Rich Carey / WWF

What does this mean for Australia?

Australia has some of the world’s most unique animals found nowhere else, yet sadly we also have the highest rate of mammal extinctions - not a record we should be proud of. More than 1,100 Australian wildlife populations were assessed in the Living Planet Index, and sadly some of our most iconic wildlife face uncertain futures.

Sea lion populations in South and Western Australia are steadily dropping, with a startling 64% reduction of pups born yearly. The Pookila (formerly known as the New Holland Mouse) has disappeared entirely from the Great Otway National Park, an area that once supported high numbers of these tiny native mice. And the iconic face of Australian wildlife, the koala, is now Endangered in Qld, NSW and the ACT, with Australia’s east coast populations down by an alarming 50% in just 20 years.

This devastating level of loss is unsustainable for the future of Australia’s beautiful wildlife and the places they call home. Australia’s nature is in trouble, and it’s vital we take action before it is too late.

Taking meaningful action requires respectful collaboration. If we are to understand Country in order to heal it, we must listen and learn from those who have been its caretakers for millennia. Traditional land and water knowledge has been key to First Peoples’ ability to survive and keep ecosystems in balance by intimately understanding Australia’s challenging landscapes. Yet their knowledge and practices continue to be undervalued and ignored in critical areas of conservation, especially when it comes to Australia’s management and understanding of water.

What needs to happen now?

The future of our planet depends on us taking action. There is still time to act to reverse biodiversity loss and secure a nature-positive world by 2030, but it needs to start now.

Australia’s government must bolster efforts to protect nature and Regenerate Australia. This starts with strengthening our nature laws, becoming a world leader in forest protection, taking greater action on climate change, and respecting and acknowledging the stewardship of Indigenous Australians to care for Country.

Annie the koala finds a tree after being released into the wild
© Zoos Victoria

As Professor Moggridge explains in the report, Indigenous Knowledge, research and perspectives can work well with non-Indigenous scientific approaches. Stronger collaboration is key and is a significant benefit to all our communities, but must be encouraged and supported by government action. We must have more cross-cultural conversation, particularly in the area of water research and management.

“If Indigenous Knowledge was incorporated into water planning, Australians would benefit through the protection and recognition of different types of flows. Indigenous Australians will keep working hard to have their voices heard and their knowledge put to good use for the benefit of all.” - WWF-Australia’s Governor, Professor Bradley Moggridge (Associate Professor in Indigenous Water Science, University of Canberra) - Kamilaroi Nation

Want to make a difference? Here’s how you can help.

  • Sign the petition and call on the Australian Government to commit to stronger protections for our wildlife and the wild places they call home.
  • Donate today to play your part in our country’s largest, most innovative wildlife and landscape regeneration program.
  • Discover if threatened animals need protection in your local area using WWF’s My Backyard tool and find out how well they’re being cared for
  • Tune in to Scat Chat with WWF to learn about the weird and wonderful ways that animal scat (poo) is used to help wildlife conservation.
  • Find out more about how you can get involved to help regenerate Australia’s wildlife.