From tigers to dolphins, animal populations in many of China's ecosystems have plummeted during decades of development and urbanisation, a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) study said Wednesday.
The conservation group highlighted about a dozen species in different natural habitats across the country in its third China Ecological Footprint Report, saying numbers have fallen dramatically over the years.
"The populations of more than 10 flagship and keystone species in China have undergone marked decline that was particularly severe between the 1960s and 1980s," the report said.
According to findings compiled by WWF from various sources, the Yangtze river dolphin population crashed by 99.4 percent from 1980 to 2006, while that of the Chinese alligator fell by 97 percent from 1955 to 2010.
Amur tiger numbers slumped by 92 percent from 1975 to 2009 due to hunting, deforestation, habitat loss and intensified human activities, it said.
But the study noted that four animal types, including China's "star species" the giant panda, had seen gradual recoveries due to greater conservation and reintroduction efforts.
"You may know that the efforts to protect these four types have been much greater, and their numbers may have started to rise," said Li Lin, WWF's deputy country representative. More....