Photo: Profimedia

23 species of living things and plants will be officially declared extinct in the United States

23 federally protected species in the United States will be declared officially extinct – most in a single step – according to a government proposal announced on Wednesday. Among them is the ivory woodpecker, last seen almost 80 years ago.

This species of woodpecker and some of the other living things proposed for removal from the endangered species list in the United States actually disappeared decades ago, but scientists have warned that due to man-made climate change and of habitat destruction, such events could become more common.

“In the context of climate change and the loss of natural areas that are pushing more and more species to the brink of disaster, now is the time to unite our proactive, collaborative and innovative efforts to save America’s wildlife,” said Deb Haaland. at the head of the Interior Department, according to Reuters, taken over by Agerpres.

The U.S. Department of Fisheries and Wildlife proposal would thus mark the largest group of animals and plants to be officially declared extinct, in accordance with the main U.S. law on wildlife protection – the Endangered Species Act (ESA) – since its adoption in 1973.

Only 11 species mentioned in the document have been declared extinct over the years, said Brian Hires, a spokesman for the Department of the Interior.

List of extinct species

Among the 23 species currently proposed for permanent removal from the list are a frugivorous bat, 11 birds, eight freshwater mussels, two species of fish and a mint plant, the agency said.

The ivory woodpecker, nicknamed “Lord God Bird” by bird enthusiasts, was the largest woodpecker in America, but cutting down old forests in the southern United States led to the destruction of its habitat. The last documented observation of this bird dates from 1944, in the northeastern state of Louisiana.

Also on the list is Bachman’s warbler (Vermivora bachmanii), considered one of the rarest songbirds in America. It has not been observed in the wild in the United States since 1962. The last documented observation of this migratory bird in the world was made in Cuba in 1981.

Both the woodpecker and the songbird species were included on the endangered species list in 1967 in the ESA precursor law.

The bird population has declined by nearly 3 billion in North America since 1970, amid rapid environmental changes associated with human activity, according to the Wildlife Service.

Eleven of the species proposed for extinction are native to Hawaii and the islands of the Pacific Ocean, victims of the high risk associated with the very limited geographic area, the U.S. Department of Fisheries and Wildlife noted.

After the project will be subject to public debate for a period of 60 days, a final decision will be published on December 29.

The law on endangered species has also experienced some happy situations. A total of 54 species have been removed from the list of protected species due to the improvement of their situation, including the American peregrine falcon and the bald eagle. The status of another 56 species has been changed from “endangered” to “endangered”. More than 1,600 species of animals and plants are currently on the ESA list, Hires said.

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