BILLINGS, Mont. — Death has come knocking one last time for the splendid ivory-billed woodpecker and almost two dozen other birds, fish and other species — the U.S. government is declaring them extinct.
It's a rare move for wildlife officials to give up hope on a plant or animal, but scientists say climate change threatens to make extinctions more common as it adds to the pressures facing imperiled species.
The factors behind this latest and largest batch of extinctions vary. They range from urbanization to water pollution and logging. In each extinction, humans were the ultimate cause.
NBC News reports that the announcement on Wednesday will kick off a three-month comment period before the species status changes become final. It's possible that some of the newly-extinct animals could reappear in the years to come.
One Cornell bird biologist told NBC News that "little is gained and much is lost" in declaring extinction, as it marks the end of the government's conservation efforts for that species.
Only 11 species have been declared extinct by U.S. officials since the passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973.
According to The New York Times, the Bachman's warbler and the Kauaʻi ʻōʻō are among the other birds that U.S. wildlife officials have declared extinct.