These animals are extinct in 2023 – LSB

Garima
8 Min Read


Extinction is not a relic of humanity’s more barbaric past. It’s happening now.

In 2023, scientists declared 21 species officially extinct, all in the United States. The list of shame includes birds, shellfish, fish and mammals. Destroyed habitats, pollution, climate change, exploitation and invasive species are the culprits. Today’s rate of extinction is “at least tens to hundreds of times higher” than the extinction that occurred in the last 10 million years, The UN found.

Yet biologists and conservationists are struggling to spare the many endangered species that are not confirmed extinct, a cause that has saved a variety of animals and plants in recent decades: the bald eagle, the humpback whale, the American alligator, the whooping crane and others.

“As long as it’s not too late, it’s not too late,” Seay McKeon, a biologist and marine program director at the American Bird Conservancy, told Mashable.

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In 2023, the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it was too late for the following species (they had previously proposed removing these species from the inventory), but emphasized its focus on saving many other vulnerable, still-breathing species . “The ultimate goal is to restore these species so that they no longer need them [Endangered Species] Protection of the Act,” Fish and Wildlife Service Director Martha Williams said in a statement.

Rare photo of Kauaʻi ʻōʻō taken by US Fish and Wildlife Biologist.

Rare photo of Kauaʻi ʻōʻō taken by US Fish and Wildlife Biologist.
Credit: USFWS / Robert Shallenberger

The birds that have disappeared

– Bachmann’s nettle (once found in Florida, South Carolina)

– Brined White Eye (Guam)

– Kauai Akialoa (Hawaii)

– Kauai nukupuu (Hawaii)

– Do not`i’ōō (Hawaii)

– Greater Kauai Thrush (Hawaii)

– Maui ‘ākepa (Hawaii)

– Maui nukupu`u (Hawaii)

– creeper Molokai (Hawaii)

– Twilight (Hawaii)

Island species are particularly vulnerable to extinction because they often exist nowhere else. Hawaii’s native birds, which may only inhabit one island or a particular island region, have been decimated by climate change, disease and invasive predators.

“The clock just hasn’t run out of time.”

To stem bird extinction on the world’s most remote (by distance) islands, the State of Hawaii is collaborating with the Fish and Wildlife Service and conservationists to significantly reduce the population of invasive mosquitoes that infect birds with avian malaria. Different types of pest management are considered.

“These mosquitoes, combined with climate change, are an existential threat to Hawaiian birds,” McKeon explained. “This is a big move that conservationists are trying to make. We need all hands on deck.”

“There’s just no more time on the clock,” he added.

A 19th century illustration of Bachmann's hive.

A 19th century illustration of Bachmann’s hive.
Credit: Robert Havel / John James Audubon

Many terrestrial and aquatic species from the southeastern United States also appear on the 2023 list, including Bachmann’s bright warbler, a songbird placed on the endangered species list in 1967. Clearcutting eliminated this animal’s marsh habitat and led to the extinction of the population.

“These are some of the most famous songbirds in the world,” McKeon said, speaking of both Bachmann’s warblers and related species. “We lost [them] due to lack of protection of these habitats.”

The clams that disappeared

– Flat pig (Alabama, Mississippi)

– Southern Acorn Shell (Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee)

– Stirrupshell (Alabama, Mississippi)

– Mountain Ridge (Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee)

– Green Pearl Mussel (Tennessee, Virginia)

– Mother of pearl (Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia)

– Pearl clam (Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee)

– Yellow-colored pearl clam (Alabama, Tennessee)

Mussels, filter animals that live protected in shells, are vital parts of freshwater ecosystems. They filter out harmful toxins (some algae and bacteria) and provide food and habitat for numerous species.

“It’s an evolutionary winner, and we’re losing them fast.”

Mussels have also developed impressive adaptations to thrive. “Freshwater mussels are really amazing,” McKeon said. When they’re born, they’re just floating plankton, so the species has developed remarkable ways to cling to animals like fish to stay upstream and avoid an unfortunate escape from its ecosystem.

“It’s amazing,” McKeon enthused. “It’s an evolutionary winner, and we’re losing them fast.”

The empty shell of the extinct yellow pearl clam.

The empty shell of the extinct yellow pearl clam.
Credit: USFWS

The fish that disappeared

– San Marcos gambusia (Texas)

– Scioto madtom (Ohio)

The mammal that disappeared

– Lesser Marian fruit bat (Guam)

What You can help stop extinction

Today, more than 1,480 endangered or threatened species remain on the Fish and Wildlife Service’s list. But we are not helpless. You too can make a difference.

– Help endangered species where you live: Conservationists suggest putting pressure on cities or local governments to protect declining species. For example, there is mussels on the brink of extinction in Big Darby Creek outside of Columbus, Ohio. But the local government wants increasing sewage runoff into the creek. “The fate of mussels is in the hands of these urban planners,” Tiera Curry, a conservation biologist at the Center for Biological Diversity, an organization that works to protect endangered species, told Mashable in 2021. “This is extinction playing out in reality time.”

Do you have a cat? Keep it indoors: Domestic cats slaughter birds. “We can save a huge number of birds,” he said bird biologist Nico Arcilla told Mashable in 2019. Arcilla noted that cats are the number one or number two killer of birds in North America. “Just one person keeping their cat indoors can save hundreds, maybe thousands, of birds. It’s pointless.”

– Do you have a yard? Plant native plants: Lawns are environmental disasters. But native vegetation is a habitat for diverse life.

– Pay close attention to your user decisions: “Your voice is loudest when it’s heard through your dollar,” McKeon said. “Make informed decisions.”

“Your voice is loudest when it’s heard through your dollar.”

This could mean making sure the products you buy come from recycled sources, such as toilet paper or post-consumer plastics. Plastics, for example, are consumed by marine animals and can be fatal to these wild creatures.

“Anything you can do to reduce plastic entering the ocean is a good move,” stressed McKeon.

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