After removing them from the Endangered Species Act, the United States government has declared 22 species of wildlife and 1 species of plant extinct. Over the years many efforts have been attempted to find these species but unfortunately, scientists still haven’t found evidence that they still exist. Scientists say this devastating event was caused by issues such as water pollution, logging, and competition with invasive species. Bridget Fahey who oversees classification for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service told reporters “And it’s a sobering reminder that extinction is a consequence of human-caused environmental changes.”
One of the best-known species in the United States, the Ivory-Billed woodpecker, was one of the animals labeled extinct, despite the millions of dollars spent on habitat preservation and searches. Although the United States has declared the woodpecker extinct, another group tracking global extinction remains hesitant. This Switzerland-based organization believes there is still a chance of finding the bird in Cuba. The last confirmed sighting for the Ivory-Billed woodpecker was nearly 80 years ago, but the former head of ornithology at Cornell University, John Fitzpatrick, said the USFWS (United States Fish and Wildlife Services) has overlooked many unconfirmed sightings, some of which include pictures. Fitzpatrick also said, the Ivory-Billed woodpecker “has always been a very elusive species, and if it exists at all today, its numbers are extremely tiny, limited to difficult places to investigate, and behaviorally evasive, but this species is by no means definitively extinct and, therefore, should not be listed alongside all the other species that really are.”
Following the government’s announcement, 2 bills were written and are currently making their way through congress. These bills are going to help increase protection and funding for endangered species. The first bill (The Extinction Prevention Act) would provide $5 million a year through grants to help fund conservation work for each of the most critically endangered species. Although the United States already provides funding, a 2016 study found only 3.5% of scientists estimated funding for recovery is provided by the government. Through the second bill (The Extinction Crisis Emergency Act) President Joe Biden would be directed to declare the global wildlife extinction crisis a national emergency. As a result of this act being passed, the entire federal government would spur into action to stop the loss of endangered species.
In all, 11 birds, one bat, two fish, one plant, and eight mussels have been removed from the endangered species act list. Many of these species have not been seen in decades, hence why they were removed and labeled extinct. Although this is a very tragic event in our history, it has caused officials to rise up and find possible solutions for helping future endangered species.