Sightings of at least one male Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) in the Big Woods forest of the Mississippi River basin in Arkansas has astounded ornithologists worldwide. This is incredible news, since the last sighting of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker was in 1944, and in 1996, the IUCN declared it extinct.
With these sightings, conservation efforts and funding can begin, since the Ivory-billed Woodpecker is no longer considered extinct. It may lead to protection of a larger area of Big Woods. Since these woodpeckers live only about 15 years, there’s hopes in finding a breeding pair.
Interior Secretary Gale Norton and Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns responded to the news by announcing a multi-million-dollar effort to aid the rare bird’s survival.
“This is a rare second chance to preserve through cooperative conservation what was once thought lost forever,” Norton said. “Decisive conservation action and continued progress through partnerships are now required. I will appoint the best talent in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and local citizens to develop a Corridor of Hope Cooperative Conservation Plan to save the Ivory-billed woodpecker.”
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