Heartbreaking Removal from ‘The Endangered List’ – The Latest Species Declared Extinct

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced on Monday that they have removed nearly two dozen species from the endangered species list. The reason for this move is both tragic and telling – these species are now extinct.

The Unfortunate Reality of Endangered Species

Most of these species were first listed under the Endangered Species Act during the 1970s and 1980s. 

At that time, they were already facing grim prospects, with dwindling populations or, in some cases, teetering on the brink of extinction. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has conducted numerous rigorous assessments over the decades, rooted in the best available scientific knowledge, to determine the fate of these animals.

The reality is that federal protection arrived too late to reverse the decline of these species.

One Million Species at Risk Worldwide

Martha Williams, the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, aptly summed up the situation, stating, “Federal protection came too late to reverse these species’ decline, and it’s a wake-up call on the importance of conserving imperiled species before it’s too late.”

The magnitude of this issue extends beyond the 21 species in question. In 2019, scientists issued a dire warning that a staggering one million species of plants and animals worldwide were at risk of extinction. 

This crisis is not confined to international boundaries, as there are over 1,300 species listed as either endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act in the United States.

Unique Hawaiian Ecosystems

Among the 21 species removed from the list, the toll includes one mammal, ten species of birds, two species of fish, and eight types of mussels. 

Eight of these species were native to the landscapes of Hawaii, underlining the fragility of these unique ecosystems.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stresses the value of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and underscores the essential role it plays in safeguarding species before their declines reach a point of no return.

Habitat Destruction, Overexploitation, and Invasive Species

The circumstances surrounding these extinctions are poignant reminders of the threats posed by human activity, including habitat destruction, overexploitation, and the introduction of invasive species and diseases.

The decision to remove these species from the Endangered Species Act was not a hasty one. The process began in September 2021 when the Fish and Wildlife Service first proposed delisting these species. 

However, during the evaluation, the agency withdrew the delisting proposal for one species, a specific type of Hawaiian herb. The fate of another, the ivory-billed woodpecker, remains under review.

Signs of Recovery

While some species get removed from the Endangered Species Act due to extinction, others get delisted because their populations have shown signs of recovery.

The agency reports that they have delisted more than 100 species of plants and animals based on successful recovery efforts or reclassified their status from endangered to threatened due to improved conservation status.

“The ultimate goal is to recover these species so they no longer need the act’s protection,” emphasized Director Williams, highlighting the agency’s commitment to preserving biodiversity for future generations.

The removal of these 21 species from the endangered list serves as a reminder of the importance of conservation efforts.

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