Too Soon to Declare Ivory-billed Woodpecker Extinct

Louisiana Wildlife Federation is asserting that it is too early to declare delisting of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Before delisting, a thorough review of all of the files and sources needs to done. These sources include reports from credible ornithologists. The 2010 Ivory-billed Woodpecker Recovery Plan contains a detailed compilation of over 100 reports between 1944 and 2003. Even allowing for multiple observations it suggests a large number of reported individuals (up to 200) and would infer a need for explanation why they have been discounted.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service finding of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker in Arkansas 2004-2005 has not been reversed. Photographs from 2009 showing two Ivory-billed Woodpeckers in Louisiana also need to be well reviewed. Therefore, it is impossible to arrive at an accurate tally of the number that exists. In addition, it would be necessary to complete further coordinated studies that should be developed by a committee comprising of the individuals who have knowledge of what has been done in the recent past.

In the latest issue of Arkansas Wildlife (Jan-Feb 2022), reference is made to the book “The Ivory-billed Woodpecker: Taunting Extinction” in which author Guy G. Luneau cited examples of more recent sightings using ANOVA numerical statistics to confirm 2009 photographs as Ivory-billed woodpeckers rather than Pileated Woodpeckers.

Until adequate surveys have been completed, delisting would only discourage continued searching. Louisiana Wildlife Federation urges the USFWS to not delist the Ivory-billed Woodpecker at this time.

LWF comment ltr ivory-billed wp Jan 2022

April 2022 article about recent sightings in The Guardian

Photo credit: AP

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