The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has removed 23 species from those under protection. Endangered Species Act That means they are probably extinct, as they haven’t been seen in the wild for decades.
The delisted species is Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis), Previously the largest woodpecker in the United States, it reaches a maximum height of 20 inches (51 centimeters) and has 10 other birds. Eight freshwater mussel species. Two freshwater fish species.fruit bat According to the race; and the plant species USFWS statement..
These species have been described as protected by ESA since at least 1993 and are included in some of the first drafts of ESA in 1973. The ESA protects the listed species and their habitats and provides funding to ensure continued survival. .. However, according to USFWS, only one of the delisted species was witnessed this century, and 21 of the 23 species have not been seen since 1990.
Related: Cleanup: The Seven Most Mysterious Extinctions of History
“Each of these 23 species represents a permanent loss to our country’s natural heritage and the world’s biodiversity,” said Bridget Fahey, USFWS biologist responsible for the ESA classification. New York Times.. “And it calmly reminds us that extinction is the result of anthropogenic environmental change.”
However, some experts believe that certain species, especially ivory-billed woodpeckers, may have been delisted prematurely.
The disappearing bird
According to the USFWS, birds are the most representative of the newly delisted species, as they were hit hardest by the loss of habitat.
One of the most notable is the small yellow bird called the Bachmann warbler (Vermivora bachmanii). This species was previously discovered in Florida and South Carolina, moved to Cuba in the winter, and has not been seen in either country since 1988.
“Most of these [bird] “It makes sense to state that birds are extinct, especially because Hawaiian birds are endangered,” John Fitzpatrick, a former director of the Bird Department at Cornell University, told Live Science. rice field.
For example, Kaua Inukupuu (Hemignathus hanapepeAccording to USFWS, no sightings have been confirmed from Hawaii since 1899 and can only be identified from paintings. However, Fitzpatrick disagrees that there is sufficient evidence to give up another species, the ivory-billed woodpecker.
“In my opinion, there is plenty of doubt about woodpeckers, and it’s very premature to state that they are now extinct,” Fitzpatrick said.
The USFWS has set the final date of sightings of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers confirmed in the United States in 1944. However, USFWS says these birds, including used evidence such as photographs and feathers, live at least until the turn of the century, according to Fitzpatrick.
In 2005, Fitzpatrick led the study and was published in the journal. ChemistryAnnounced the rediscovery of Ivory-billed Woodpecker, after some reported sightings and analyzes of videos captured in Arkansas.
Ivory-billed woodpeckers are “always a very elusive species, and if they exist today, they are very few, limited to hard-to-find areas and avoid behavior,” Fitzpatrick said. “But this species is by no means completely extinct and should not be listed with all other species that actually exist.”
Still, many expeditions to look for Hashijirokitsuki came empty-handed, Elizabeth Bennett, vice president of species protection at the Wildlife Conservation Society, told Live Science.
Of course, there are pros and cons to delisting species. “It raises awareness that things are really going extinct, including these big spectacular things that we really care about, like Ivory-billed Woodpeckers,” Bennett said. “But the downside is that if those species reappear, action and funding will be difficult to mobilize again.”
Some of the most notable freshwater mussel species currently considered extinct are flat mussels (flat mussels) (Pleurobema marshalli), Previously found in Mississippi, acorn shells in the south (Epioblasma othcaloogensis), Previously found in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.
According to USFWS, the southeastern United States has historically been a hotspot for freshwater mussel diversity, home to more than half of the world’s freshwater mussel species.However, freshwater mussels require healthy rivers with clean water to survive, and are polluted by agricultural spills. Climate changeInduced changes in rain and snow have had a significant impact on river ecosystems.
In December, a satellite imagery survey revealed that one-third of US rivers have changed significantly in color over the last 36 years, from blue to yellow to green. This indicates that the water quality has deteriorated. Live science previously reported..
Similarly, two freshwater fish species, San Marcos Gambusia (USFWS)Gambusia georgei), The San Marcos River in Texas, and Scioto madtom (Noturustrautmani), From the Scioto River in Ohio — According to USFWS, it is believed to be suffering from changes in the ecosystem of its own rivers.
Just under half of the recently delisted species were endemic to Hawaii and the Pacific Islands — 9 from Hawaii and 2 from Guam, including the Little Mariana fruit bat (Flying fox), Also known as the Guam flying fox.
The extinctions in Hawaii and Guam are not surprising. According to USFWS, island-specific species are at increased risk of extinction due to their isolation and narrow geographic range.
As a result, according to USFWS, more than 650 species protected under the ESA are endemic to Hawaii and the Pacific Islands and are most of the states in the United States.
“It’s sad that Hawaii is known as the world’s extinct capital,” said Max Phillips, director of the Hawaii Program at the Biodiversity Center of Japan. Said in a statement.. “Despite making up 30% of the country’s listed species, our incredibly rare Hawaiian flora and fauna receive less than 10% of the money allotted for recovery.”
Originally published in Live Science.
Scientists officially list 23 species as extinct, including the largest woodpecker in the US Source link Scientists officially list 23 species as extinct, including the largest woodpecker in the US
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