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Image: Original photo by Arthur A. Allen, 1935, watercolored by Jerry A. Payne, via Wikimedia commons
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer
Twenty-three species in the United States will be declared extinct by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) today. The extinctions include 11 birds, eight freshwater mussels, two fish, a bat, and a plant. These species will join a list of more than 150 others already declared extinct in the US. And because it takes decades of research before the FWS can know definitively, these formal declarations are rare.
“Each of these 23 species represents a permanent loss to our nation’s natural heritage and to global biodiversity,” Bridget Fahey, who oversees species classification for FWS, told the New York Times. “And it’s a sobering reminder that extinction is a consequence of human-caused environmental change.”
The Road to Extinction
Many of the species in today’s announcement haven’t been seen for decades. Some extinctions are caused by natural evolution, in which no amount of conservation could save them. However, for these species, the factors were human-caused, from overdevelopment, water pollution, and logging to invasive species and hunting.
The ivory-billed woodpecker is among the most beloved species on this list and the largest woodpecker in the United States. After decades of decimating forests, the last confirmed sightings of the woodpecker wasin Louisiana in 1944 and in Cuba in 1986.
Still, some aren’t ready to call it quits on the ivory-billed woodpecker. The International Union for Conservation of Nature, an organization in Switzerland that keeps track of global extinctions, is not declaring the ivory-billed woodpecker extinct because it’s possible the birds still exist in Cuba, theGuardian reported.
“Biodiversity is the foundation of social and economic systems, yet we have not managed to solve the extinction crisis,” Leah Gerber, an ecologist and director of the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes at Arizona State University told theNew York Times.
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By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer At a UN conference in Kunming, China, President Xi Jinping set aside $230 million to form a fund that preserves biodiversity in developing countries. This announcement was made at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity talks (COP15) which are dedicated to preserving delicate ecosystems and preventing plants and animals […]
The people have spoken! The portly patriarch of paunch persevered to pulverize the Baron of Beardonkadonk in the final match of #FatBearWeek 2021. 480 Otis can now boast a bevy of bests w/ this fourth 1st place finish. As we celebrate, like a true champ 480 is still chowing down. pic.twitter.com/rLvm7pvGJW — Katmai National Park […]
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