The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been exceedingly slow to protect species. A 2016 study found that species waited a median of 12 years to receive safeguards. In total, at least 47 species have gone extinct waiting for protection.
Several of the species in today’s announcement went extinct during a delay in the listing process, including the Guam broad-bill, little Mariana fruit bat, and the southern acorn-shell, stirrup-shell and upland comb-shell mussels.
We are at risk of losing hundreds more species because of a lack of urgency. The Endangered Species Act is the most powerful tool we have to end extinction, but the sad reality is that listing still comes too late for most species.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service badly needs to reform its process for protecting species to avoid further extinctions, and it needs the funding to do so. We can’t let bureaucratic delays cause more extinctions.
Nine months into his term, President Biden has yet to nominate a director for the Fish and Wildlife Service.
Biden did request more than a $60 million increase for endangered species — the largest increase requested for the program in history — but the House Appropriations Committee undercut the president’s budget request by $17 million.
A 2016 study found that Congress only provides approximately 3.5% of the funding that the Service’s own scientists estimate is needed to recover species. Roughly 1 in 4 species receives less than $10,000 a year toward recovery.
Instead the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed today to remove 22 animals and a plant from the endangered species list because of extinction. They join the list of 650 U.S. species that have likely been lost to extinction.
Species being proposed for de-listing include the ivory-billed woodpecker, Bachman’s warbler, Scioto mad-tom, San Marcos gambusia, eight species of Southeastern freshwater mussels, eight birds and a flower from Hawaii, and a bird and bat from Guam.
Two bills moving through Congress would increase protection and funding for endangered species. The Extinction Crisis Emergency Act would direct President Biden to declare the global wildlife extinction crisis a national emergency.
The Extinction Prevention Act (H.R. 3396) would create four grant programs that would provide $5 million per year to fund crucial conservation work for each of the most critically imperiled species in the USA, including butterflies, freshwater mussels, desert fish and Hawaiian plants.
The legislation would spur action across the entire federal government to stem the loss of animals and plants in the United States and around the world.
Extinction is not inevitable. It is a political choice. Saving species isn’t rocket science. As a country we need to stand up and say we aren’t going to lose any more species to extinction.
Bachman’s warbler was a small yellow and black songbird that once bred in swampy thickets in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee and overwintered in Cuba, where it was seen for the last time in 1988. It was lost to habitat destruction and collection.
Bridled white-eye: A green, yellow and white tropical lowland forest bird from Guam that was 4 inches long, with a prominent ring around its eye. It became extinct because of predation from the invasive brown tree snake.
Ivory-billed woodpecker: The third largest woodpecker in the world, the ivory-billed woodpecker once flew in old-growth forests in 13 states, including Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
It declined because of logging and collection, and the last verified sighting was in 1944 despite extensive searches.
Little Mariana fruit bat: Also known as a flying fox, the little Mariana fruit bat lived on Guam and foraged on tropical fruits.
It was last seen in 1968 and went extinct because of habitat loss from agriculture and military activity, brown tree snake predator and over-harvesting for use as food. It had a 2-foot wingspan, gold on the sides of its neck and yellowish-brown fur on the top of its head.
The San Marcos gambusia was a 1-inch-long fish that ate small invertebrates and gave birth to live young instead of laying eggs like many species of fish.
It lived in clear spring water from the headwaters of the San Marcos River in Texas.
Last seen in 1983, its extinction is due to water overuse that depleted groundwater and spring flow.
The Scioto madtom was a small catfish found only in Big Darby Creek in Ohio. It was listed as endangered in 1975 but was last seen in 1957. It was lost because of silt accumulation from dams and runoff.
The eight freshwater mussels proposed for de-listing include the flat pig-toe, green-blossom pearly mussel, southern acorn-shell, stirrup-shell, tubercles-blossom pearly mussel, turgid-blossom pearly mussel, upland comb-shell and yellow-blossom pearly mussel.
Freshwater mollusks are the most endangered group of organisms in the United States, with 36 mussels and more than 70 freshwater snails already lost.
Global Research California / ABC Flash Point News 2021.