The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on Wednesday declared 23 species extinct, including 11 birds and two fish.
Notable among the 23 extinctions is the ivory-billed woodpecker, one of the better-known species to now be extinct.
“This is not an easy thing,” Amy Trahan, the FWS biologist who declared the ivory-bill woodpecker extinct, said. “Nobody wants to be a part of that.”
“Just having to write those words was quite difficult. It took me a while,” she added.
There were also eight Hawaiian birds declared extinct, including the Kaua’i ’o’o and the Maui ’akepa.
Scientists warned that the increase in climate change could push more animals onto the extinction list, according to a statement released by the Department of the Interior.
“With climate change and natural area loss pushing more and more species to the brink, now is the time to lift up proactive, collaborative, and innovative efforts to save America's wildlife,” Interior Secretary Deb HaalandDeb HaalandInterior recommends imposing higher costs for public lands drilling Overnight Energy & Environment — White House announces new climate office Biden administration approves second offshore wind project off Rhode Island MORE said in the statement. “The Endangered Species Act has been incredibly effective at preventing species from going extinct and has also inspired action to conserve at-risk species and their habitat before they need to be listed as endangered or threatened. We will continue to ensure that states, Tribes, private landowners, and federal agencies have the tools they need to conserve America’s biodiversity and natural heritage.”
The FWS statement said that human activity was the final reason these animals went extinct.
The 23 species were added to the list in the 1960s, and there was hope at the time they would be taken off in the future.
Before the 23 species Wednesday, only 11 species had been added to the list since the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973.
The ivory-billed woodpecker was one of the first animals that officials recognized as being endangered and helped spur the crafting of the act.
Updated at 9:45 a.m.