Ivory-billed woodpecker, 22 other species declared extinct by U.S. government

The Ivory Billed Woodpecker

The U.S. government is declaring  the splendid ivory-billed woodpecker — and 22 more birds, fish and other species — extinct.

It’s a rare move for wildlife officials to give up hope on a plant or animal, but government scientists say they’ve exhausted efforts to find these 23. And they warn climate change, on top of other pressures, could make such disappearances more common  as a warming planet adds to the dangers facing imperiled plants and wildlife.

The ivory-billed woodpecker was perhaps the best known species the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Wednesday will announce is extinct. It went out stubbornly and with fanfare, making unconfirmed appearances in recent decades that ignited a frenzy of ultimately fruitless searches in the swamps of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida.

In this May 10, 2005, photo, shells from tubercled-blossom pearly mussels (Epioblasma torulosa) collected from the Ohio River are held at Chase Studio in Cedarcreek, Mo. The freshwater mussel is among 23 species that U.S. wildlife officials say have gone extinct.

Source: CBS and The Washington Post