USA to declare 23 species extinct in harrowing climate change warning

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Multiple animals are reportedly to be declared extinct by US authorities this week in a dire warning about the disastrous effects the climate crisis is having on the world. USA-based scientists said they have exhausted all efforts to find 11 birds, eight freshwater mussels, two fish, a bat and a plant, according to the Press Association.

They are to be removed from the endangered species list, federal wildlife officials will announce on Wednesday.

The now-extinct species have disappeared due to climate change and other pressures, and scientists warned there is more to come as the planet warms.

The factors behind the disappearances vary — too much development, water pollution, logging, competition from invasive species, birds killed for feathers and animals captured by private collectors.

In each instance, humanity is the ultimate cause for their extinction.

All 23 species were considered to have a least a slim chance of survival when they were added to the endangered species list in the 1960s.

Bridget Fahey, who oversees species classification for the Fish and Wildlife Service, said: “Each of these 23 species represents a permanent loss to our nation’s natural heritage and to global biodiversity.

“And it’s a sobering reminder that extinction is a consequence of human-caused environmental change.”

The ivory-billed woodpecker was perhaps the best-known species the US Fish and Wildlife Service will announce is extinct.

Others such as the flat pigtoe, a freshwater mussel in the southeastern US, were identified in the wild only a few times and never seen again.

On the delisting proposal, 11 of the species are from Hawaii and Guam.

Islands – where wildlife evolved in isolation – have been especially hit hard by extinctions, which have been caused by humans introducing foreign species into the ecosystem.

Pigs, goats and deer destroy forest habitat, as well as rats, mongoose and brown tree snakes prey on native birds and bats.

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Mosquitoes, which did not exist on Hawaii until they arrived on ships in the 1800s, kill birds by infecting them with avian malaria.

Hawaii was once home to more than 50 species of forest birds known as honeycreepers, some of them brightly coloured with long, curved beaks used to drink nectar from flowers.

Taking into account the proposed extinctions in this delisting, only 17 of these species are left.

Most of the remaining species are now face a life of even heavier siege.

Birds that lived higher in the mountains were once safe from avian malaria because it was too cold for mosquitoes.

But because of the warming effects of climate change, the mosquitoes have become capable of moving to higher ground.

Around the world, some 900 species have been officially documented as extinct, but the actual number is thought to be considerably higher as many species are never formally identified.

Scientists have warned there is an extinction crisis as animals and plants are now disappearing at 1,000 times the historical rate.

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