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US Fish and Wildlife Service

October 4, 2021

US declares ivory-billed woodpecker, 22 other species extinct

The US Fish and Wildlife Service declared the ivory-billed woodpecker and 22 other species of birds and fish extinct.

The reasons for the disappearances vary from water pollution to logging — but human involvement was the common thread between all of the factors.

However, some scientists believe it’s possible that one or more of the 23 species could reappear. One expert on the ivory-billed woodpecker, Cornell University bird biologist John Fitzpatrick, found the declaration to be premature.

“Little is gained and much is lost,” said Fitzpatrick, who authored a 2005 study claiming the woodpecker’s rediscovery in 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.”

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US says ivory-billed woodpecker, 22 other species extinct

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