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[Slashdot] - US Officials Report More Than 20 Extinctions


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An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times: The ivory-billed woodpecker, which birders have been seeking in the bayous of Arkansas, is gone forever, according to federal officials. So is the Bachman's warbler, a yellow-breasted songbird that once migrated between the Southeastern United States and Cuba. The song of the Kauai O'o, a Hawaiian forest bird, exists only on recordings. And there is no longer any hope for several types of freshwater mussels that once filtered streams and rivers from Georgia to Illinois. In all, 22 animals and one plant should be declared extinct and removed from the endangered species list, federal wildlife officials announced on Wednesday. "Each of these 23 species represents a permanent loss to our nation's natural heritage and to global biodiversity," said Bridget Fahey, who oversees species classification for the Fish and Wildlife Service. "And it's a sobering reminder that extinction is a consequence of human-caused environmental change." The extinctions include 11 birds, eight freshwater mussels, two fish, a bat and a plant. Many of them were likely extinct, or almost so, by the time the Endangered Species Act passed in 1973, officials and advocates said, so perhaps no amount of conservation would have been able to save them. "The Endangered Species Act wasn't passed in time to save most of these species," said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit group. "It's a tragedy." Since the passage of the Endangered Species Act, "54 species in the United States have been removed from the endangered list because their populations recovered, while another 48 have improved enough to move from endangered to threatened," adds the report. "So far, 11 listed species have been declared extinct."

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