U.S. to Declare 23 Species Extinct

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) proposed on Sept. 29 to declare 23 species extinct.

FWS said it is proposing to remove 22 animals and one plant from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) due to extinction as the act came too late to protect them.

FWS said it based its proposal on “rigorous reviews of the best available science.”

The non-profit Center for Biological Diversity said in a statement that FWS “has been exceedingly slow to protect species.” 

“The Endangered Species Act is the most powerful tool we have to end extinction, but the sad reality is that listing still comes too late for most species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service badly needs to reform its process for protecting species to avoid further extinctions, and it needs the funding to do so,” Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the center, said.

Those to be declared extinct include the ivory-billed woodpecker and the Bachman’s warbler.

The ivory-billed woodpecker was once America’s largest woodpecker and was listed as endangered in 1967, the same year the Backman’s warbler — one of the rarest songbirds in North America — was listed as endangered.

Other species to be declared extinct include nine other birds, eight types of Southeastern freshwater mussels, two freshwater fishes, one bat, and one flower.

However, FWS said that ESA has successfully prevented the extinction of over 99% of listed species, with 54 delisted due to recovery and another 56 moved from endangered to threatened.

“We will continue to ensure that states, Tribes, private landowners, and federal agencies have the tools they need to conserve America’s biodiversity and natural heritage,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said.

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