The United States Fish and Wildlife Service recently declared 21 species extinct, marking a significant moment in our nation’s conservation history.
This list includes two types of freshwater fish, ten bird species, and the Little Mariana fruit bat. These species, many of which have not been sighted for decades, are now officially considered lost to the world.
This announcement serves as a stark reminder of the consequences of human activity on our natural environment. Habitat loss, overuse, and the introduction of invasive species and diseases all contributed to the decline and eventual extinction of these species.
It is a wake-up call that underscores the urgent need for more effective conservation efforts.
In 2021, the U.S. declared 23 species extinct. This begs the question, which species is next? When recovery goals were set for the gray wolf, they failed to appropriately consider human-caused environmental impacts such as loss of habitat and climate change. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/YJvcE9GMCy
— #RelistWolves (@relistwolves) March 11, 2023
Interestingly, one bird species, the ivory-billed woodpecker, was conspicuously absent from the list. Despite the last commonly accepted sighting of this bird dating back to 1944, there have been recent unconfirmed sightings, including one by ornithologists from the National Aviary in Pittsburgh earlier this year.
The Fish and Wildlife Service has decided to continue analyzing and reviewing information before making a final decision on the status of this iconic woodpecker.
Many of the now-extinct species were listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the 1970s and 80s. At the time of listing, these species were already in very low numbers or likely already extinct.
This highlights the importance of early intervention in protecting endangered species and the need for proactive measures to prevent further loss of biodiversity.
Despite the grim news, the ESA had some success in protecting endangered species. The agency reports the ESA has protected 99 percent of listed species from extinction, with over 100 species of plants or animals delisted based on recovery.
This demonstrates the potential effectiveness of conservation laws when implemented correctly and in a timely manner.
4 Cheetah pups were born in Kuno National park to a Cheetah which was brought to India in 2022. First wild Cheetah birth in India after 7 decades. Cheetah was declared extinct in India in 1952. pic.twitter.com/65PTQXLZO0
— Pagan 🚩 (@paganhindu) March 31, 2023
Among the species declared extinct are the Bachman’s warbler, previously found in Florida, and several Hawaiian species.
Eight mussel species and the little Mariana fruit bat, previously found in Guam, were also delisted. All but two of the delisted species were first listed as endangered before 1990, and none had a confirmed sighting in the 21st century.
The declaration of these 21 species as extinct is a sobering reminder of the impact of human activity on our planet’s biodiversity. It underscores the urgent need for more effective conservation efforts and the importance of early intervention in protecting endangered species.