More than 30 percent of animals with a backbone -- fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals -- are declining in both range and population, according to the first global analysis of these trends.
"This is the case of a biological annihilation occurring globally," said Stanford professor Rodolfo Dirzo, co-author of a study published in the peer-reviewed journal PNAS on Monday. . . .
"Several species of mammals that were relatively safe one or two decades ago are now endangered," including cheetahs, lions and giraffes, it said.
Globally, the mass die-off -- the sixth in the last half-billion years -- is the worst since three-quarters of life on Earth, including the non-avian dinosaurs, were wiped out 66 million years ago by a giant meteor impact.
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