Extinction declaration comes as no surprise

The federal government on Wednesday declared 23 species of birds, fish and other species to be extinct. It is a somber kind of declaration, to acknowledge that species that used to live on earth are no longer here.

It may be somber, but it’s not exactly a surprise. These species have not been seen for years. The ivory-billed woodpecker, one of the more spectacular of the species, hasn’t been seen since 1944.

The federal Endangered Species act was passed to identify species that were in trouble and help fund plans to bring them back. The act has been successful in bringing back species like the bald eagle, the brown pelican and the humpback whale, but for many species, the problem is that they exists in a very specific habitat, and if that environment changes or is disrupted, they have no place to go.

The extinction declarations on Wednesday are part of an effort to clear a backlog of cases, and free up resources for helping species with a better chance of survival.

The best bet, we think, is to protect fragile environments, create conditions that allow the animals and plants to exist and let nature do the rest. We have to know what impact we humans are having on nature and be ready to adapt. The bald eagle, for instance, was nearly wiped out by the effects of DDT in the environment. Once we realized that and banned it’s use, the eagles came back.

The world is going to change and species are going to die out. We shouldn’t let it be on account of us.


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