Ivory-billed woodpecker and 22 other species declared extinct

The U.S. government has declared 23 domestic species of bird, fish and other wildlife extinct, including the Ivory-billed woodpecker, last observed no less than 15 years ago but with not reliably so since the 1940s. This begins a three-months consultancy period before the extinctions become official. The context is that public money is spent looking for critically endangered species, but those on the list haven't been seen in decades and it's hard to justify the cost.

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.

Others such as the flat pigtoe, a freshwater mussel in the southeastern U.S., were identified in the wild only a few times and never seen again, meaning by the time they got a name they were fading from existence.

Finally, a war America can win!

John James Audubon, 1829 (public domain)