The population of large herbivores is declining at a startling rate. According to a new study published in the journal Science Advances, more than 60% of the world’s giant herbivores face the threat of extinction. It raises the threat of an “empty landscape across much of the planet Earth,” said William Ripple of Oregon State University and lead author of the study.
Rhinos and others could vanish within 20 years
Researchers analyzed 74 herbivore species weighing more than 220 pounds, including rhinos, elephants, and gorillas. Professor Ripple said it was the first time someone had analyzed all these herbivores as a whole. The declining number of animals is causing an empty landscape in the grasslands, desert, forest and Savannah. A previous study has shown similar declines in large carnivores.