United States declares 23 species of animals extinct

23 species of animals extinct
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Among them is the ivory-billed woodpecker, last seen in 1944. There are also birds of Hawaii and a plant. Authorities blame climate change and the destruction of ecosystems.

U.S. authorities on Wednesday declared 23 species to be permanently extinct, including the ivory-billed woodpecker, one of the most majestic birds in the United States, which used to be found in the swamps of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. Since 1944 a specimen of this animal has not been seen.

Among the 23 species that scientists have given up hope of seeing alive is another bird, the Bachman’s warbler, two types of freshwater fish endemic to Ohio and Texas, eight kinds of mussels from the southeast of the country and a plant.

The Federal Fish and Wildlife Service “has determined that these species are extinct,” so the process has begun to remove them from the list of endangered species. The report adds that this news “underscores how human activity can lead species to decline and extinction, contributing to habitat loss, overexploitation and the introduction of invasive species and disease,” the statement said.

“The growing effects of climate change are expected to further exacerbate these threats,” the document adds. “With climate change and the loss of natural habitat, more and more species are on the brink of extinction, so it is time to be more proactive and innovative in efforts to save America’s wildlife,” said the secretary of Interior, Deb Haaland, in a statement.

Species of animals extinct

The ivory woodpecker, belonging to the Picidae family, had black and white plumage, with a red crest on the males, and was about 50 centimeters tall. It was classified as an endangered species in 1967, mainly due to the disappearance of the forests that constituted its habitat and due to excessive captures for collectors. The last time a specimen of this species was seen was in April 1944 in northeastern Louisiana.

These 23 species were classified as threatened in the 1960s, too late to be saved, authorities said. The list also includes eleven species endemic to Hawaii and the island of Guam, including several birds and one species of bats.

The animals that live on the islands are more easily threatened due to their isolation. More than 650 species of plants and animals in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands are threatened, more than any other state in the country. Many do not exist anywhere else in the world.

The agency scientists pointed out, however, that the protection efforts are effective, and recalled that since 1975 almost fifty animals have been removed from the list of protected species, including the bald eagle or the brown pelican.