WASHINGTON—Saying their numbers could easily plummet into the hundreds of billions within our lifetime, officials from the World Wildlife Fund issued an urgent warning Thursday stating that as few as 8 trillion brown rats remain in existence. “The world’s beleaguered brown rat population has reached a critical turning point, with only 1,085 of the animals to every human on the planet,” said conservationist Irene Kushner, who noted that human involvement, such as trapping and habitat degradation, meant that a mere 98 percent of wild rats are now able to successfully mate and reproduce. “If action isn’t taken to reverse these threats, then seeing one of these creatures in its natural habitat, skittering along subway tracks or poking its head out of a sewer grate, could become marginally less common. We must act now.” Kushner encouraged everyday citizens to do their part to help the rats’ numbers by producing as much garbage as possible.

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