On Wednesday, the US Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to remove 23 animals and one plant from the endangered species list due to their extinction. This includes seven species native to Alabama. These join the list of 650 American species that are probably extinct.
“The Endangered Species Act prevented the extinction of 99% of the plants and animals in its care, but unfortunately these species were extinct or nearly extinct when they were listed,” said Tierra Curry, senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The tragedy will be magnified if we do not prevent this from happening again by fully funding the fast moving species protection and recovery efforts.” Delay equals death for vulnerable wildlife. ”
Species from Alabama proposed for delisting include: southern acorn shell, stirrup shell, tuberose-flowered pearl mussel, turgid-flowered pearl mussel, upland filled shell, and pearl mussel with yellow flowers. The eight Alabama species that seem to be lost forever are all freshwater mussels.
Freshwater mollusks are the most threatened group of organisms in the United States. 36 species of mussels and more than 70 freshwater snails have already disappeared. Some of these species were on a list pending an action plan to recover when they went extinct.
The Center for Biological Diversity blames the USFWS ‘lack of urgency for some of these extinctions. They point to a 2016 study that found that cash waited an average of 12 years to receive collateral. Some of the species mentioned in today’s announcement have become extinct during a delay in the listing process, including acornshell, stirrup, and highland crested mussels. In total, at least 47 species have disappeared while awaiting protection.
“We are in danger of losing hundreds of other species due to a lack of urgency,” said Curry. “The Endangered Species Act is the most powerful tool we have to end extinction, but the sad reality is that listing is still too late for most species. The US Fish and Wildlife Service absolutely needs to reform its species protection process to prevent further extinctions, and it needs funding to do so. We cannot let bureaucratic delays cause more extinctions. ”
The eight freshwater mussels proposed for deletion include the flat mussel, the green-flowered pearl mussel, the southern acorn shell, the stirrup, the tubular-flowered pearl mussel, the turgid-flowered pearl mussel, the Highland Filled Mussel and Yellow Flowered Pearl Mussel.
Nationally, Wednesday’s delisting included: ivory-billed woodpecker, Bachman’s warbler, Scioto’s mad cat, San Marcos gambusia, eight species of southeastern freshwater mussels, eight birds and a flower from Hawaii, as well as a bird and a bat from Guam.
President Joe Biden has yet to appoint a director for the Fish and Wildlife Service.
A 2016 study found that Congress provides only about 3.5% of the funding the Service’s own scientists believe is needed to recover cash. About 1 in 4 species receive less than $ 10,000 per year to recover.
The Center for Biological Diversity is backing two bills passed by Congress that they say would increase protection and funding for endangered species.
- The Extinction Prevention Act, HR3396, would create four grant programs that would provide $ 5 million per year to fund critical conservation work for each of the most critically endangered species in the United States, including butterflies, water mussels sweet, desert fish and Hawaiian plants.
- The Extinction Crisis Emergency Act would order President Biden to declare the global wildlife extinction crisis a national emergency. The legislation would push the entire federal government to act to stem the loss of animals and plants in the United States and around the world.
“Extinction is not inevitable,” said Curry. “It’s a political choice. Saving cash is not rocket science. As a country, we must stand up and say that we are not going to lose any more endangered species. ”