Oct 4, 2021 - News
How the ivory-billed woodpecker's extinction impacts Florida
Ivory billed woodpecker and willow oak (20th century). Courtesy: State Archives of Florida

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared the ivory-billed woodpecker, which once ranged across Florida and the rest of the Southeast, extinct, AP reports.

Why it matters: Reports of sightings in recent decades launched a flurry of searches in the swamps of Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Florida — but they were ultimately fruitless.

  • Some maintain that it's premature to call the bird extinct.

Flashback: In the 1920s, Floridians called them "Good Lords."

  • Florida was the bird's North American stronghold because of the state's warm climate and swampy terrain. Collectors found hundreds in Florida in the 1890s.

The big picture: The ivory-billed woodpecker just is the best-known species of 23 fauna and flora on the Fish and Wildlife Service's list of extinctions.

  • Globally, 902 species have officially been documented as extinct, but the actual number is thought to be much higher.
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