Ivory Billed Woodpecker

Ivory Billed Woodpecker

Just recently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) updated its list of extinct species. At the end of Sept., they added 23 species to the list. Some would say that the most recognized of these would be the ivory-billed woodpecker. 

For many years, there had been many rumors that the woodpecker was hiding out in swamps of the south. Finally, after a long time searching, scientists have exhausted all their efforts. 

The last known Louisiana sighting was over 80 years ago. It was down in Madison Parish on the Singer Tract, a land slot owned by Singer Corporation, a manufacturing company specializing in sewing machines. Since that sighting, there have been many alleged glimpses of what might be the bird. 

"In St. Tammany Parish, for instance, a reported sighting in 1999 sent six bird experts from around the world into the marshy Pearl River Management Area near Slidell for a two-week search that ended, ultimately, with no sight of the elusive bird," Nola news, a  news station in Louisiana stated. "The quest has split the bird community, some of whom fervently believe the ivory-billed woodpecker is still lurking in the swamps and others who brush off reported sightings as the byproduct of overactive imaginations." 

While a few animals being added to the endangered species list may not be the biggest deal in the world to some people, others are quite concerned. Dr. Tilottama Roy, a biology professor at Missouri Western, expressed her opinions on the matter.

"We can say that when we are sitting in my office, eight species of birds in Hawaii going extinct doesn't really make a difference to my life," Roy said. "But if we look beyond that at the bigger picture, at each and every individual animal in nature, we learn that we are animals too. Our goal should be to think about all the biodiversity and every species we are losing." 

All wildlife species rely on each other. We all learned about the food chain in elementary school, and these animals going extinct will affect them in their way. 

"What happens if we lose these species?" Roy asked. "Every species that we have on Earth helps in maintaining the delicate balance of our Earth's ecosystem. So if you take out one from that equation, it's going to have a domino effect. So we might not feel it now, but we will in a few years. There's no part that they are playing at this very moment, but even then we should be concerned about saving the Earth's biodiversity, you know, like 50 years from now, our grandchildren should not say, 'Oh, you know, half of the species are not there that grandma had seen, we can only go and see them out in the museums.'"

There are organizations worldwide that are trying to prevent more animals from being added to this list. One of those organizations is the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). NWF helps protect organisms of all shapes and sizes. 

"Unfortunately, many of our species have not fared well over the past few decades, suffering from threats such as habitat loss and the spread of invasive species. Scientists estimate that up to one-third of U.S. species are at increased risk of extinction. More than 1,600 U.S. plants and animals already have been federally listed as threatened or endangered and protected under the Endangered Species Act. The National Wildlife Federation has long been focused on protecting the most vulnerable of our wild species." 

Twenty-three species were added to the USFWS extinction list. While some believe that the ivory-billed woodpecker may still be out there somewhere, it is the most known name added to the list. The extinction of these animals upsets entire ecosystems and will come to affect us in the future. However, we can do things, such as supporting organizations like NWF, who dedicate their whole purpose to helping these animals.



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