Report: 40 percent of global insects could be wiped out in decades

World Today

A new study warns that insects the world over are declining in large numbers. The dramatic rates are sounding the alarm about possible ramifications for the environment and even humanity’s existence. CGTN’s Gerald Tan reports.

They’re tiny and everywhere. Often beautiful; sometimes deadly.

But now, insects themselves are in grave danger. More than 40 percent of global species could be wiped out in the coming decades. And scientists warn the effects could be catastrophic.

“The loss of species is inevitably concerning, because often we don’t know what those pieces are doing, we don’t know what other species are depending on them,” Max Barclay of the British Natural History Museum said.

Insects are a food source for birds and small mammals. They pollinate some three-quarters of crops worldwide. But urbanization, deforestation and commercial farming are all threatening their existence.

Ants and bees are now disappearing eight times faster than other animal species, according to a report published in the international journal Biological Conservation.

Beekeepers in Bolivia are seeing the effects first-hand. According to beekeeper Rene Villca, “The bees that come into contact with pesticides applied in in coca fields and other crops die or get lost in the field. And they do not return to their home, to the hives.”

This is the first time a comprehensive global review of insect numbers has been conducted. And the results, some experts say, are “gravely sobering.”