- Title: U.S. to declare 23 species, including ivory-billed woodpecker, extinct
- Date: 29th September 2021
- Summary: ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA, UNITED STATES (SEPTEMBER 29, 2021) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRIDGET FAHEY, DIVISION CHIEF OF ECOLOGICAL SERVICES FOR THE U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, SAYING: "The Endangered Species Act is designed to be a safety net from extinction. And it works well for that purpose. But we need to get ahead of the curve by keeping common species common. And the way to do that is to create a network of connected, protected lands across the globe so that we have healthy, intact ecosystems for all species - including our own."
- Embargoed: 13th October 2021 21:05
- Keywords: Bridget Fahey Kauai Oo U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service extinct ivory-billed woodpecker
- Location: ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA / KAUAI, HAWAII / SINGER TRACT, LOUISIANA, UNITED STATES
- City: ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA / KAUAI, HAWAII / SINGER TRACT, LOUISIANA, UNITED STATES
- Country: US
- Topics: Environment,Nature/Wildlife,United States
- Reuters ID: LVA008EWRXD8N
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The ivory-billed woodpecker - not officially seen since 1944 and long sought by birders in the American South - is one of 23 species that would be declared extinct by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under a proposal it announced on Wednesday (September 29).
Government scientists have exhausted efforts to find these 23 bird, fish and other species and warned that climate change and dwindling habitats on top of other pressures, could make such disappearances more common, the service said in a statement.
"It's a really hard day," said Bridget Fahey, who heads their ecological services division. "We dedicate our lives to preventing extinction, and so acknowledging that we might have lost that fight is hard."
The extinctions include 11 birds, eight freshwater mussels, two species of fish, a bat and a plant, the agency said.
"In most cases it's (caused by) habitat loss...once the habitat is gone, it's hard to get it back," said Fahey. "In some cases it was disease or invasive species that contributed to declines."
She said most of the species were given protective status after it was too late.
The ivory-billed woodpecker, also known to bird watchers as the "Lord God Bird" was America's largest woodpecker but logging of old growth forests in the South destroyed its habitat. Its last confirmed sighting was in 1944 in northeast Louisiana, the service said.
Also on the list is Bachman's warbler, considered one of America's rarest songbirds. It has not been seen since 1962 in the United States. The last documented sighting of the migratory bird was in Cuba in 1981.
Eleven species are proposed to be listed as extinct in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands, due to the heightened risks of limited geographic range, the service said.
Fahey said she was particularly saddened about the loss of the Kauai Oo.
"It had a very haunting call that you could hear in the forests of Kauai," she said. "It's sad to me that that's a sound that we'll never hear again in the wild."
The wildlife service will accept public comment for the next 60 days and a final judgment will be published Dec. 29, said Brian Hires, a service spokesman.
(Production: Vanessa Johnston)
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