The Lord God Bird and Dozens of Other Species Declared Extinct in 2021
A Wildlife Article from

FROM John R. Platt,
January 2022

This year scientists identified birds, lizards, orchids and other species that have been lost. How many more will follow?.... And of course, all these disappearances can be linked to human activities — a reminder of the effect we have around us.

The extinct ivory-billed woodpecker. Photo: James St. John (CC BY 2.0)

On September 29, 2021, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its intention to remove 23 long-unseen species from the protection of the Endangered Species Act — because they’ve probably gone extinct, and you can’t keep protecting what’s already gone.

Among the proposed dead: the ivory-billed woodpecker, an iconic lost species often referred to as “the Lord God bird,” supposedly based on the words of wonder people once exclaimed upon seeing the magnificent creature flying above them.

The news set off a firestorm of media coverage and social-media shares.

The similar extinction of a frog from Kenya did not. Nor did that of a lichen from Florida, a dragonfly from the South Atlantic or a fish from Maryland.

And that’s all too typical of the extinction crisis, which United Nations scientists predict could cost the planet up to a million species this century — most of which will disappear in silence, unnoticed, unremarked upon, even as the web of life that supports humans on this planet continues to unravel.



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