A total of 23 species could be removed from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) due to extinction, following a proposal from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The list includes several birds, two types of fish, and eight species of freshwater mussels that have sadly gone the way of the dodo.

A 2019 report from the UN found that one in four species are at risk of extinction, with human activities “threatening more species now than ever before”. Devastatingly, marine pollution has increased tenfold since 1980.

The UN report also listed the five main drivers of “unprecedented” biodiversity and ecosystem change over the past 50 years: changes in land and sea use; direct exploitation of organisms; climate change, pollution, and invasion of alien species.

So which species could be removed from the ESA, and how long have they been extinct?

  1. Bachman’s warbler: Last confirmed sighting in 1988
  2. Bridled white-eye (bird): Last confirmed sighting in 1983
  3. Flat pigtoe mussel: Last confirmed sighting in 1984
  4. Green-blossom pearly mussel: Last confirmed sighting in 1982
  5. Ivory-billed woodpecker: Last confirmed sighting in 1944
  6. Kauai akialoa (bird): Last confirmed sighting in 1969
  7. Kauai nukupuu (bird): Last confirmed sighting in 1899
  8. Kauaʻi ʻōʻō (bird): Last confirmed sighting in 1987
  9. Large Kauai thrush (bird): Last confirmed sighting in 1987
  10. Little Mariana fruit bat: Last confirmed sighting in 1968
  11. Maui ākepa (bird): Last confirmed sighting in 1988
  12. Maui nukupuʻu (bird): Last confirmed sighting in 1996
  13. Molokai creeper (bird): Last confirmed sighting in 1963
  14. Phyllostegia glabra var. lanaiensis (plant): Last confirmed sighting in 1914
  15. Po`ouli (bird): Last confirmed sighting in 2004
  16. San Marcos gambusia (fish): Last confirmed sighting in 1983
  17. Scioto madtom (fish): Last confirmed sighting in 1957
  18. Southern acornshell mussel: Last confirmed sighting in 1973
  19. Stirrupshell mussel: Last confirmed sighting in 1986
  20. Tubercled-blossom pearly mussel: Last confirmed sighting in 1969
  21. Turgid-blossom pearly mussel: Last confirmed sighting in 1972
  22. Upland combshell mussel: Last confirmed sighting in the mid-1980s
  23. Yellow-blossom pearly mussel: Last confirmed sighting in 1980s

Secretary Deb Haaland said that climate change and natural area loss is pushing more and more species to the brink, and now is the time “to lift up proactive, collaborative, and innovative efforts” to save America’s wildlife.

In a statement, Haaland said: “The Endangered Species Act has been incredibly effective at preventing species from going extinct and has also inspired action to conserve at-risk species and their habitat before they need to be listed as endangered or threatened.

“We will continue to ensure that states, Tribes, private landowners, and federal agencies have the tools they need to conserve America’s biodiversity and natural heritage.”

Although the ESA came too late for the 23 species listed in this article, it has been successful at preventing the extinction of more than 99% of species listed.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said that in total, 54 species have been delisted from the ESA due to recovery, and another 56 species have been downlisted from endangered to threatened.

There are plans to down list or delist 60 species due to successful recovery efforts as well, so it’s not all doom and gloom thankfully.

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