Press Release | October 16, 2023

21 species declared extinct by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

WASHINGTON— The US Fish and Wildlife Service finalized a rule removing 21 species from Endangered Species Act protection because the Service determined they were extinct. In response, the Southern Environmental Law Center’s Wildlife Program Leader, Ramona McGee, released the following statement:

“This should be a wake-up call to the reality of our extinction crisis, and human activity’s role threatening species. As we observe the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, we must recognize there is still much work to do saving creatures and ecosystems that we cherish and depend on.

“Unfortunately, many of these species, including Southern varieties of mussels and Bachman’s warbler, received ESA protections when they were already perilously close, or suspected to be extinct. The stakes are higher for wildlife here in the South. We host a globally significant variety of plants and animals that are under mounting pressure because of humanmade threats, including climate change and habitat loss.

“Despite this discouraging news, the ESA remains one of the most effective and comprehensive conservation laws in the world. We must also consider preventative action to protect imperiled species, including bipartisan legislation like the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, that supports state and tribal wildlife agencies’ work conserving species before they risk extinction.”

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Terah Boyd

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Phone: (404) 521-9900
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