Earth is entering a “mass extinction event”, according to a new study by three top US universities.
Lead author Gerardo Ceballos said: "We are now entering the sixth great mass extinction event.
"If it is allowed to continue, life would take many millions of years to recover and our species itself would likely disappear early on.”
According to the BBC, the last such event was when the dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago.
Deforestation was one of the reason cited by the study for the impending 'mass extinction event'
This extinction period would be the six the Earth has ever experienced.
The study revealed that some species are vanishing as much as 100 times faster than normal.
Researcher Professor Paul Ehrlich, at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, said: “Species are disappearing up to about 100 times faster than the normal rate between mass extinctions, known as the background rate.
“Our calculations very likely underestimate the severity of the extinction crisis. There are examples of species all over the world that are essentially the walking dead.”
According to the Telegraph, one in four mammals is currently at risk of dying out, as well as 41% of amphibians.
And the reason for all of this? Us, according to the study by Stanford, Princeton and Berkeley universities.
The research, published in the Science Advances journal, cited climate change, pollution and deforestation for the destruction of thousands of species.
But there is a way to prevent such a disaster, Ehrlich added.
Pollution is responsible for wiping out many species
He said: “Avoiding a true sixth mass extinction will require rapid, greatly intensified efforts to conserve already threatened species, and to alleviate pressures on their populations – notably habitat loss, over-exploitation for economic gain and climate change.”
The Telegraph quoted Dr Mike Barrett, WWF-UK’s Director of Science and Policy, who said: “These findings echo those of WWF’s Living Planet Report which highlighted a 52 per cent decline in vertebrate populations over the last 40 years.
"If this trend is not reversed it is easy to see how more extinctions could take place and it is further evidence that we clearly need to do more to protect wildlife and their habitats."