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23 Birds, Fish and Other Species Declared Extinct by US Wildlife Officials

by Olivia Lai Americas Sep 30th 20212 mins
23 Birds, Fish and Other Species Declared Extinct by US Wildlife Officials

The US Fish and Wildlife Service says 23 wildlife species including the ivory-billed woodpecker, are now extinct and should be delisted from the Endangered Species Act. 

What is Happening? 

11 birds, two fishes, one bat, one plant and eight types of freshwater mussel have been declared extinct by the US Fish and Wildlife Service on Wednesday, September 29. 11 of these species were lost from Hawaii and Guam alone.

Among the biggest losses is the ivory-billed woodpecker, once the largest woodpecker species in the US and known for its striking red tuft, and has not been seen since it was spotted in 1944 in Louisiana. The bird was officially listed as an endangered species in 1967. Also joining the extinction list is the Bachman’s warbler, which was one of the rarest songbirds in North America. 

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to remove 23 animal species from the Endangered Species Act (ESA), a protection act dedicated to conserve species before declines become irreversible, due to their extinction. The wildlife officials claim that unfortunately for these 23 species, the act “came too late”. Human activity such as land loss and worsening effects of climate change makes it all the more difficult for these species to recover. 

You might also like: Sixth Mass Extinction of Wildlife Accelerating- Study

“With climate change and natural area loss pushing more and more species to the brink, now is the time to lift up proactive, collaborative, and innovative efforts to save America’s wildlife. The Endangered Species Act has been incredibly effective at preventing species from going extinct and has also inspired action to conserve at-risk species and their habitat before they need to be listed as endangered or threatened,” said US Fish and Wildlife Secretary Deb Haaland in an official statement. 

Scientists estimate that approximately three billion individual birds have been lost since the 1970s, while approximately one million animal and plant species are currently under threat of extinction, according to a UN report. The study also points out that animal species extinction rates are record high and “accelerating”. 

Plant species are similarly experiencing a significant decline. A recent report by the Botanic Gardens Conservation International found that at least 30% of the world’s tree species are facing extinction in the wild, with well-known tree species such as magnolias, oaks, maple and ebonies among those most threatened. 

While the ESA has been successful at preventing the extinction of more than 99% of species listed, as well as de-listing and downlisting over 100 animal species, officials are stressing on the need to take greater action in preventing more habitat and species loss. 

Featured image by: Boanerges de Barros Junior/Pixabay 


About the Author

Olivia Lai

Olivia is a journalist and editor based in Hong Kong with previous experience covering politics, art and culture. She is passionate about wildlife and ocean conservation, with a keen interest in climate diplomacy. She’s also a graduate of University of Edinburgh in International Relations with a Master’s degree from The University of Hong Kong in Journalism. Olivia was the former Managing Editor at Earth.Org.

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