U.S. government declared Ivory-billed woodpecker and more than 20 species extinct.
The U.S. government is ringing the death knell to the 23 different species of fish, birds and other animals, including the magnificent ivory-billed woodpecker.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Wednesday will officially declare “Lord God Bird” extinct after years of no confirmed sightings, and unsuccessful searches in the South.
The rare choice to eliminate the species of more than twenty from the endangered list has warned of the devastating effects the effects of climate change and loss of habitat will have on biodiversity around the world, threatening many other species and animals with extinct according to federal officials.
Reason behind the extinction of wildlife species
The reasons for disappearances are varied in the form of too much development and logging, waqter pollution and competition from invading creatures, animals killed to obtain feathers and wildlife captured from private collection companies. In each instance humans were the primary reason. The species has only been eliminated due to extinct in the nearly 50 years that has passed since when the Endangered Species Act was signed into law. The announcement on Wednesday kicks off the three-month period for comment before the status changes for species become official.
Around the world, 902 species are identified as extinct. It is believed to be far higher as many species aren’t officially identified however, many scientists are warning that the planet is experiencing the midst of an “extinction crisis” with flora and fauna disappearing at a rate of 1,000 times the rate of historical records.
It’s possible that one or more out of 23 species listed in the announcement on Wednesday could return according to a number of scientists.
A key person in the hunt for the woodpecker with ivory bills said it was not the right time to cut off the hunt, despite millions of dollars have been spent on hunts and habitat conservation efforts.
“Little is gained and much is lost” by a extincting declaration, claimed Cornell University bird biologist John Fitzpatrick who was the principal author of a study from 2005 which said the woodpecker was found in the eastern part of Arkansas.
“A bird this iconic, and this representative of the major old-growth forests of the southeast, keeping it on the list of endangered species keeps attention on it, keeps states thinking about managing habitat on the off chance it still exists,” he added.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature is a Swiss-based organization which tracks global extinctions and isn’t putting the ivory-billed woodpecker on its extinction chart as it is possible that the bird remain in Cuba according to Craig Hilton-Taylor.
Hilton-Taylor warned that there could have unintended, but harmful consequences when extinction is declared in a hurry. “Suddenly the (conservation) money is no longer there, and then suddenly you do drive it to extinction because you stop investing in it,” the scientist said.
Federal officials have said that the declaration of extinction was motivated by the desire to eliminate an unfinished list of status modifications for species that have not been implemented for many years. They claimed it will free up funds for conservation efforts on the ground for species that have a the potential to recover.
What’s lost when these efforts don’t work is that the creatures are often specially adapted to their environment. Freshwater mussels, such as those the government believes have disappeared reproduce by drawing fish using an appendage that resembles a lure, and then dispersing an encrusted cloud of larvae which attach to the gills of fish until they’ve developed enough to be able to go away and live independently.
The odds are low for the possibility of a mussel living to adulthood — it’s a one-in-a-million chance according to Ford at the service for wildlife but the ones that do survive for at least a century.
Hawaii is home to the highest number of species of birds on the listeight woodland birds as well as one plant. It’s due in part to the fact that the islands are home to such a variety of species of animals and plants that most have very small distances and may disappear rapidly.
The latest bird to become extinct was the tiny po’ouli bird called honeycreeper, which was discovered in 1973.
By the end of the 1990s, just three of them remained three remained — a male along with two females. After a failed attempt to mate them in the wild the male was taken to breed and later passed away in 2004. Two females never ever seen again.
The bird’s fate in Hawaii have pushed Duke University extinction expert Stuart Pimm into the field of his expertise. Despite the bleak aspect of the federal government’s plan to relocate more species into the column of extinct animals, Pimm said the toll likely would have been greater with out having the Endangered Species Act.
“It’s a shame we didn’t get to those species in time, but when we do, we are usually able to save species,” the scientist said.
Since 1975 54 species have been removed from the endangered list after regaining their status in numbers, including the the bald Eagle, brown pelican and the majority of Humpback whales.
Climate changes are making recovery of species more difficult, with droughts wildfires, floods, and temperature fluctuations that add to the dangers species are already facing.
The way they are protected is changing. There is no longer a focus on specific species, let alone birds. The goal of the government is now to conserve their habitats, which helps species of all kinds living there.
“I hope we’re up to the challenge,” said biologist Michelle Bogardus with the wildlife service in Hawaii. “We do not have the resources to stop extinctions in a unilateral manner. We need to think ahead about the health of our ecosystems and how we can ensure it is maintained, in light of all the dangers.”
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