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21 Extinct Species Removed From US Endangered Species Act

Once vibrant and common, Bachman's Warblers are now out of the US Endangered Species Act
Once vibrant and common, Bachman’s Warblers are now out of the US Endangered Species Act. Credit: ethan.gosnell2 / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

In a recent announcement, the US Fish and Wildlife Service shared that twenty-one species, which are a mix of animals and plants, were removed from the US Endangered Species Act since they were no longer found in the wild.

The list of species removed from the protection of the Endangered Species Act includes the Bachman’s warbler, a vibrant yellow bird that used to be widespread in Florida, South Carolina, and other southern states.

Furthermore, eight different kinds of mussels from the southeastern region and the Little Mariana fruit bat, a small fruit bat found in Guam, are no longer on the list. However, some species initially scheduled for removal have been spared. One of them is a Hawaiian plant called Phyllostegia glabra var lanaiensis.

Potential new habitats for plants spared

Recent surveys have revealed potential new habitats that could support Phyllostegia glabra var lanaiensis, so it will continue to receive protection under the ESA.

The ivory-billed woodpecker, which was previously supposed to be removed from the list, has sparked a debate about whether it is truly extinct or not. This effort to take extinct species off the list began in September 2021.

Significance of safeguarding wildlife

In 2021, the US Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, stressed the significance of safeguarding wildlife.

When the initial process of removing some species from the list was proposed, she said, “With climate change and natural area loss pushing more and more species to the brink, now is the time to lift up proactive, collaborative and innovative efforts to save America’s wildlife.” Haaland emphasized the importance of the Endangered Species Act in this regard.

The majority of the species on the US Endangered Species Act list were added back in the 1970s and 1980s. At that time, many of these species were already in especially bad shape, with very few of them left. Some might have even vanished entirely.

Concerns of the environmentalists over extinction

The recent news has caused worry for quite a few wildlife protection groups. Lindsay Rosa, who is the Vice President of Conservation Research and Innovation at Defenders of Wildlife, emphasized the lasting impact of not dealing with the problems linked to biodiversity and climate change.

She said, “Extinction is a very real and permanent consequence of leaving the joint biodiversity and climate crises unhindered.”

Rosa also pointed out that the removal of these species from the list highlights how vital it is to make use of the US Endangered Species Act to help endangered species while there is still time.

Statement by the Center for Biological Diversity

In a statement, the Center for Biological Diversity expressed its sorrow over the fact that these species can never be brought back. Noah Greenwald, who serves as the director for endangered species at the nonprofit organization, shared his feelings, saying, “My heart breaks over the loss of these 21 species.”

“Few people realize the extent to which the crises of extinction and climate change are deeply intertwined,” Greenwald added. “Both threaten to undo our very way of life, leaving our children with a considerably poorer planet.”

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